Medicare Part A covers the following:
- Hospital care
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Nursing home care (as long as custodial care isn’t the only care you need)
- Home health services
Medicare Part B covers 2 types of services
- Medically necessary services: Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.
- Preventive services: Health care to prevent illness (like the flu) or detect it at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to work best.
You pay nothing for most preventive services if you get the services from a health care provider who accepts assignment.
Part B covers things like:
- Clinical research
- Ambulance services
- Durable medical equipment (DME)
- Mental health
- Getting a second opinion before surgery
- Limited outpatient prescription drugs
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans)
A type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Part D (Drug Plans) covers
Each Medicare Prescription Drug Plan has its own list of covered drugs (called a formulary). Many Medicare drug plans place drugs into different “tiers” on their formularies. Drugs in each tier have a different cost.
A drug in a lower tier will generally cost you less than a drug in a higher tier. In some cases, if your drug is on a higher tier and your prescriber thinks you need that drug instead of a similar drug on a lower tier, you or your prescriber can ask your plan for an exception to get a lower copayment.
A Medicare drug plan can make some changes to its formulary during the year within guidelines set by Medicare. If the change involves a drug you’re currently taking, your plan must do one of these:
- Provide written notice to you at least 60 days prior to the date the change becomes effective.
- At the time you request a refill, provide written notice of the change and a 60-day supply of the drug under the same plan rules as before the change.