How Does Medicare Part A Differ From Part B?

Comparing the Medicare Alphabet from A to B. A brief primer on the significant differences between the benefits provided by medicare part A and B.

Winding your way through Medicare, what it covers and what it doesn’t, can be daunting. A very common confusion is caused in knowing what Medicare Part A covers versus what’s covered by Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A provides hospital coverage for those who have participated in the Social Security system, which is virtually everyone. As a rule, you are eligible for Medicare Part A coverage if you are 65 or better and have contributed to Social Security for at least ten quarters. In addition to hospital stays, Medicare Part A covers skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home care. You are automatically eligible for Medicare Part A if you are already drawing Social Security benefits and may be eligible under other, special circumstances.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B provides coverage for doctors’ visits, outpatient treatment (such as physical or occupational therapy), medical supplies and preventive medical care, such as flu shots. This Part has a monthly premium, normally deducted from your Social Security payment. At present, the cost is $99.90 per month, more above certain income limits, and there is an out-pocket-deductible of $140 per year. You will need to determine whether the doctor you see participates in Medicare.

Should you have both medicare part A and B?

Most people who qualify will want the security of both coverages, unless they have access to equivalent, private insurance at a comparable cost.

Additional Coverage

Remember that medicare part a and b generally pay up to 80 percent of your medical expenses after the deductible, and do not cover prescriptions at all. For these reasons and added piece of mind, you might want to consider additional coverage.

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