Understanding Medicare

The A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare
To keep it simple, Medicare coverage is divided into several categories—or parts—to allow you to customize your coverage to your situation:

Medicare Part A is a Federal program that covers inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home healthcare. Most people don’t need to pay a Part A monthly premium because they (or their spouse) contributed into Social Security while working.

Medicare Part B is a Federal program that covers doctors’ services and other outpatient care. There is a monthly premium for Part B based on income. The purchase of Part B is optional and there may be a late enrollment penalty if you do not sign up when you are first eligible for Medicare.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) allows you to get Medicare coverage through a private insurer. Generally, you must use plan providers except in emergency or urgent care situations. This coverage takes the place of Parts A, B, and D.

Medicare Part D is optional coverage that includes prescription drugs not covered under Medicare Parts A or B. Medicare Part D coverage is offered through private insurers, either as part of a Medicare Advantage plan or as a stand-alone plan. There may be a late enrollment penalty if you do not sign up when you are first eligible for Medicare.

Supplementing Medicare Coverage
Medicare Supplement plans offer coverage that fills the gaps in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). These Medigap plans, like Medicare Advantage plans, are offered through private insurers. Depending on the policy, Medigap plans cover part or all of the deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance under Original Medicare. They offer the flexibility of being able to go to any Medicare participating provider. And there are several standardized plan options to choose from, but not every insurer offers all of them.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island depends on contract renewal.

Last updated: 10/07/2013

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Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island depends on contract renewal.