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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on May 24, 2013.

Question

I just got medicare. I do not wish to purchase any suppliment. What specifically will medicare (stand alone) cover?
Thank you.

Answer

Medicare Part A (hospital insurance)

Generally called hospital insurance, Part A covers services associated with inpatient hospital care (i.e., the costs associated with an overnight stay in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or psychiatric hospital, such as charges for the meals, hospital room, and nursing services). Part A also covers hospice care and home health care. You cannot buy Part A coverage alone.

Medicare Part B (medical insurance)

Generally called medical insurance, Part B covers other medical care. Physician care--whether it was received while you were an inpatient at a hospital, at a doctor''s office, or as an outpatient at a hospital or other health-care facility--is covered under Part B. In addition, ambulance service, laboratory tests, and physical therapy or rehabilitation services are covered. Part B also covers 100 percent of the cost of many preventive services and an annual wellness visit.

For 2013, the standard monthly premium is $104.90.

Medicare Part C

The 1997 Balanced Budget Act expanded the kinds of private health care plans that may offer Medicare benefits to include managed care plans, medical savings accounts, and private fee-for-service plans. These Medicare Part C programs are in addition to the original fee-for-service options under Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare Part C programs vary, but generally provide all Medicare-covered benefits. Some also offer extra benefits. These plans are called Medicare Advantage plans and charge a monthly fee.

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D covers the costs of prescription drugs. All Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to join a Medicare prescription drug plan offered by private companies or insurers that have been approved by Medicare. Most plans charge a monthly premium and premiums vary. You may also need to satisfy an annual deductible and pay a share of your prescription costs.


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