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Medicare Part A & Medicare Part B Overview

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A helps you pay for the medical care and services you receive during an inpatient stay in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, and some other care facilities.

For example, Medicare Part A helps to cover the costs when you require:

  • Inpatient Hospital Care
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Home health care
  • Hospice

Medicare Part A also helps to cover the costs of the services you receive while an inpatient in one of these facilities such as meals, tests, surgery, rehabilitation, and medical equipment. There are some exceptions and qualifications for covered services.

Medicare Part A doesn’t cover the entire cost of these services. You must pay the hospital deductible as set by Medicare every year.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B helps you pay for the outpatient care and services that Medicare Part A does not cover.

For example, Medicare Part B helps to cover the costs when you require:

  • Doctor office visits
  • Emergency room visits
  • Outpatient medical care
  • Laboratory and diagnostic tests

Medicare Part B doesn’t cover the entire cost of these services. Medicare Part B has an annual deductible that changes on January 1st every year. After your deductible has been met, you pay 20% co-insurance for the remainder of the year for all medically necessary Part B covered services.

Unlike Medicare Part A, you must pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B insurance coverage. Your income determines how much you must pay. You may be eligible for financial assistance to cover your Medicare Part B premiums. Higher wage earners will pay an increased premium for Medicare Part B.

Original Medicare

For decades, Medicare consisted of Part A and Part B. For this reason, many people talk about Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B as original Medicare.

Original Medicare doesn’t cover all of the costs for medical services that you may require. You can purchase a Medigap or Medicare Supplement plan to cover the costs original Medicare does not cover.

In 2006, Medicare was expanded to include:

  • Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage
  • Medicare Part D for prescription drugs

You must choose between:

  • Original Medicare: Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B and add optional Supplemental coverage as well as a Stand Alone Part D plan
  • Medicare Advantage: Medicare Part C

Next, we’ll explain Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C).