When it comes to signing up for Medicare insurance, you can sign-up for either Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. If you choose to sign up for Original Medicare, you need to make sure you really understand the costs associated with Part A, B, and C, which are all parts of Original Medicare.
The Costs Associated with Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A is designed to provide you with insurance coverage when you need to go to the hospital. With Medicare Part A, you don't have to pay anything unless you actually use it. You don't have to pay a monthly premium for the use of Medicare Part A. Instead, each time you check into the hospital is considered a benefit period. Your benefit period lasts from the day you enter the hospital until you leave or when you don't receive any inpatient services for a set period of days (60). For that benefit period, you have to pay a $1,364 deductible and the Medicare insurance will pay the rest. If your visit exceeds 60 days, you will have to pay $341 in coinsurance each day, which is when a hospital stay starts to get more expensive. Once you exceed 90 days in the hospital, your coinsurance increases to $682 per day until you exceed your lifetime reserve fund of 60 additional days, after which you are responsible for the entire balance. A short hospital stay is affordable with Medicare Part A, but a hospital stay over 60 days can really cost you a lot.
The Costs Associated with Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B is more like traditional insurance coverage. It is designed to cover all your outpatient hospital care, such as trips to your primary care physicians, physical therapy, and appointments with a specialist. With Medicare Part B, you have to pay a monthly premium. The monthly premium amount is set every year by Medicare for everyone participating in the program, with income-based adjustments. In addition to a monthly premium, you pay a very small deductible each year. After you pay the deductible, you are responsible for 20% of the remainder of your medical bills. There is no cap for this coverage, so you are responsible for 20% of your medical bills, no matter how big or small your bills end up being.
The Costs Associated with Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D provides you with coverage for your prescription medication. Medicare Part A & B don't cover your medications. Private insurance companies offer Medicare Part D coverage, and the type and level of coverage offered can be very different from one company to the next. Some plans include a deductible, while others don't. Most include a co-pay for your medication. The type of medication covered varies greatly from one company to another, so examine plans carefully. If you go with an Original Medicare Plan, you will not have to pay for Part A unless you use it. With Part B, you have a monthly premium, a very small yearly deductible, and then you are responsible for 20% of all remaining covered costs. With Part D, as it is offered through private companies, the cost can vary greatly.