The original Medicare plan managed by the federal government provides your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. You are usually charged a fee for each health-care service or supply you receive.
What is Part A (Hospital Insurance)?
Part A assists with coverage of the following:
- Inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities
- Inpatient stays in a skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long-term care)
- Hospice care services
- Home health care services
- Inpatient care in a religious nonmedical health-care institution
Part A premium:
Part A beneficiaries usually do not pay a monthly premium for their coverage if they or their spouses paid Medicare taxes while working. If you do not fit into the above category for premium-free Part A eligibility, you may be able to buy it under the following conditions:
- You didn’t work or didn’t pay enough Medicare taxes while you worked and you are age 65 or older
- You are disabled and have returned to work
What is Part B (Medical Insurance)?
In most cases, if you choose to buy Part A, you must also already have or enroll in Part B and pay the monthly Part B premium.
Part B covers:
- Medically-necessary services such as doctors’ services, outpatient care and other services needed for the diagnosis and/or treatment of your medical condition
- Preventative services that help detect or lessen complications from a condition you already have, find health problems for the purposes of early treatment or manage a medical problem (for example, preventive services include flu shots, Pap smears, and screening mammograms)
Part B premium:
Most people pay the standard premium amount, which is $96.40 in 2009. However, your monthly premium can vary depending on marital status. Monthly premiums can be higher if you are single (file an individual tax return) and your yearly income is more than $82,000, or if you are married (file joint tax return) and your yearly income is more than $164,000
Note: Part B deductibles can vary the cost of services. Please call The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for more information at 1-800-MEDICARE or visit Medicare’s official Web site, http://www.medicare.gov.