Medicare Part A or B does not cover extended or long-term care stays in a nursing facility, assisted living facility or independent living center. Nor do they cover specific services such as private duty nursing, most chiropractic services, dental care, optometry services or general transportation for doctor visits.
Medicare Part D is the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Part D covers outpatient prescription drugs. Part A only covers drugs provided during an inpatient hospital or short-term nursing and rehabilitation stay. Part D is administered through private insurance companies. A Medicare beneficiary must select and enroll in a Part D plan. Premiums and/or deductibles and copays apply to most Part D plans.
Medicare Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage. Medicare Part C plans may occasionally be referred to as Medicare HMOs or Medicare PPOs. Medicare Part C plans are administered by private insurers and health care organizations rather than the Federal Government. An individual may choose to enroll within a Medicare Part C plan in lieu of Medicare Part A and Part B. The Medicare Part C plan must provide inpatient and outpatient benefits equal to or greater than the combined benefits of Medicare Part A and Part B, including short-term nursing and rehabilitation. A premium is paid to the Part C plan rather than Part B. Deductibles and copays may apply. Some Part C plans allow enrollees to use any Medicare contracted provider while other Part C plans restrict provider choice to a limited panel.
Medicare Part B is the “supplemental medical insurance” portion of Medicare. Part B covers physician services, outpatient radiology and laboratory services, therapy, medically necessary ambulance transport, certain supplies and equipment, and a few other services not covered by Part A. Part B does not cover most outpatient medications. Part B is a voluntary program that requires eligible individuals to enroll and pay a monthly premium. Most people with Part A choose to enroll in Part B as Part A and Part B are designed to provide a comprehensive health plan when used together.
Medicare Part A is the “hospitalization” portion of Medicare. Part A covers inpatient hospital care, short-term nursing and rehabilitation stays in a nursing facility, home health care, and hospice. Most individuals are automatically enrolled in Part A when they turn 65. Some people must voluntarily enroll and pay a premium if they have not met the lifetime payroll tax requirements. Part A covered inpatient care may require a deductible and/or copay by the beneficiary.