Most Americans, adults in particular, are familiar with the basic premise of the Medicare program operating in this country. However, those who are not taking advantage of the coverage Medicare offers may not be familiar with all the Medicare benefits that can be provided. The overall goal of Medicare is to provide senior citizens and other individuals suffering from disease or disability with reliable and affordable medical coverage.
The most well known portions of Medicare are the original Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A provides individuals with beneficial coverage related to inpatient hospital stays, doctor services, and procedures. Medicare Part B provides coverage and benefits related to general medical care from doctors such as checkups, exams, and necessary durable medical equipment. In addition to the full coverage Medicare Part A and B provide, individuals can enroll in Medicare Part D and take advantage of the programs prescription drug benefits. Under Part D, eligible individuals can receive assistance in paying for medical prescriptions necessary for controlling and combating illnesses.
Individuals also have the assurance of flexibility when it comes to Medicare Benefits. Medicare Part C, or the Medicare Advantage Plan, allows individuals to get their Part A, B, and D coverage all in one plan from a private insurance company that is working under contract with Medicare.
Each different way of shaping a plan can have different Medicare benefits for different individuals. Choosing to go with Medicare Part A and Part B allows individuals the benefit of seeing any doctor at any location as long Medicare insurance is accepted. The program does come with differing premiums, deductibles, co-insurances, and co-payments that should be understood ahead of time. For example, there is no premium for Part A, while the optional coverage of Part B includes a monthly premium payment. Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage for those individuals with Medicare, however it comes in roughly 1,800 different forms and plans may not cover all the drugs an individual has been prescribed.
A Medicare Advantage Plan has its benefits as well. While the greatest benefit is the fact that traditional Part A, B, and D coverage are all rolled in to one plan, another benefit for some is that a Part C plan may cost less each month than having all three traditional plans separately.
There are of course other Medicare benefits outside of the traditional items covered under Part A, B, and D. Medicare covers a wide range of “wellness” services as well as mental health, home health care, hospice, and long term care. Medicare now covers inpatient and outpatient mental health services provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, or other qualified mental health professionals. The program will also cover stays in assisted living, nursing home, and hospice facilities for those in need of the professional skills and services provided by those institutions. Individuals with severe medical needs who are confined to their homes can qualify for home health services to be provided inside their home under Medicare coverage. As long as they are deemed medically necessary, Medicare will even cover services provided by chiropractors, podiatrists, audiologists, and other non physicians.
Medicare may not be a perfect system, but it was designed with honest intentions. To date, the program still provides senior citizens the benefit of health insurance at rates that most can afford while private insurance programs continue to experience skyrocketing prices.