Should you take Medicare parts A, B, C and D or just A and B?


Quick Answer

Medicare enrollees should consider both cost and services when choosing medical plans, reports Medicare. Traditional Medicare Parts A and B cover hospital and medical insurance, while the optional Part D covers prescription drugs, as of 2015. Medicare Part C adds alternative plans offered by private companies, usually covering prescription drugs.

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Full Answer

Traditional Medicare Part A covers home health services, hospice care and a patient staying at a hospital or skilled nursing facility, whereas Part B covers doctor visits, lab tests, medical equipment and other medically necessary services and supplies, according to Medicare. Everyone eligible for Social Security or railroad benefits gets Part A at no cost, but Part B incurs a monthly premium. Medicare Part D is a private drug plan that costs an additional premium, states AARP. Enrollees should compare the various Part D plans offered in their areas based on their own prescription drug needs.

Medicare Part C plans, also known as Medicare Advantage, must offer all the coverage traditional Medicare Parts A and B have, as reported by AARP. Additionally, they also offer prescription drug coverage and other services. They usually charge higher premiums than Medicare Part B, and they have different rules than traditional Medicare regarding copayments and out-of-pocket expenses. Part C plans often restrict patients to specific doctors and other health care providers within the network of the plan.

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