When you sign up for Medicare, you have to make sure you enroll in Medicare Part A, then Part B (or, oftentimes, both at once). Before you can choose any of the other plans on this list, you must at least have both of them.
You do not, however, have to choose either of them if you do not want to. So why choose Part A? Well, compared to most private insurance plans, Part A has some of the lowest costs and most essential benefits. It covers:
- Hospital Inpatient Care (Up to 60 Days)
- Nursing Facility Care (Up to 60 Days)
- Nursing Home Care (Upon Approval)
- Hospice Care (Upon Approval)
- Home Health Services (Upon Approval)
Every year, you must pay a deductible before you can receive benefits. As of 2021, this payment is $1,484. If you are required to pay it, you will also have a monthly premium up to $471. However, almost all beneficiaries qualify for premium-free Part A, making it one of the least expensive options out there. So, there’s really no reason not to choose Part A.
Part B covers a huge variety of “medically necessary” costs and services. This is also an incredibly low-cost plan, with a $148.50 (2021) required monthly premium and $203 deductible. Once again, this is a virtually unbeatable option for seniors or others who qualify.
Once you’re eligible for Medicare, you will then have to decide if you would rather have Original Medicare on its own, a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, or a supplement plan to go along with your Part A and Part B coverage.
Medicare Advantage works to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for regular doctoral care by setting you within a network of healthcare providers. In this network, you will pay next to nothing out-of-pocket, with little-to-no premium fees either.
As far as choosing your Medicare plan, you’ll want to consider Part C if you want an inexpensive “all-in-one” alternative to Original Medicare.
Original Medicare and Supplements
While you cannot have Medicare Advantage and a supplement plan (Medigap), you can literally “supplement” your Original Medicare coverage with Medigap. Rather than coordinating your care to reduce costs, a supplement provides extra benefits to cover existing Medicare costs such as your Part A and Part B deductibles, Part B excess charges, and much more.
While Advantage essentially provides the same coverage as Original Medicare and includes some extra benefits, supplements add to Original Medicare and provide a lot of helpful coverage for out-of-pocket costs.
The Bottom Line
When comparing these primary Medicare options, nothing is more important than your needs and what’s available to you. All of these are excellent options, and you will not be disappointed in any of them, which makes for both an easier and more difficult decision.