10 Medicare Terms To Get You Started
If you’ve ever done research in your life, you know that knowledgeable people sometimes overdo it. They use words that only other life-long Medicare experts would know.
And when you ask them to explain, what do they do? Use even bigger and scarier words to describe the ones you didn’t understand in the first place. Our philosophy: Never use a big word, when a singularly un-loquacious and diminutive linguistic expression will do the trick.
Over our 19 years of helping retirees, it has served us well. Now we are here to pass our knowledge onto you in words you understand. To get started, here are 10 commonly used terms:
At the top of the list, I like to kick-it-off with the basics. Medicare is a government-run health care program for those over 65. It is also for younger people with disabilities or kidney failure, but its primary concern is to serve the older generation.
This is often confused with Medicare, but they are completely different programs. Although they both serve the same purpose (to provide health insurance), Medicaid is for people with low income. There is a chance that you might be eligible for both programs at the same time.
3. Medicare Beneficiary
This is you. Or if you haven’t signed up yet, it will be you very soon. A Medicare beneficiary is a person enrolled in Medicare, receiving Medicare benefits.
4. Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
The IEP is made up of 3 parts: the 3 months before you turn 65, your 65th birthday month, and the 3 months after. This 7-month window is the time that most people should sign up for Medicare. If you miss your IEP, it could lead to costly penalties. So pay attention. Like all time, those 7 months will fly by!
5. Part A
Medicare is divided up into 4 parts (A, B, C, and D). And Part A is your inpatient care. It includes nursing care, hospice, and some home health services. But—for the most part—it is coverage for when you are officially checked-in at a hospital.
6. Part B
Part B is exactly the opposite of Part A. It is your outpatient care, including lab tests, medically necessary supplies, and various screenings. To keep simple, Part B is care received while checked-out of the hospital.
7. Original (Traditional) Medicare
This one is simple. Whenever someone refers to original (or traditional) Medicare, they are referring to Parts A and B together.
8. Part C (Medicare Advantage)
Medicare Advantage is an alternative to original Medicare offered through private insurance companies that have contracted with Medicare. In other words, they replace Medicare as your health insurance provider. About 1 in 4 people choose Medicare Advantage, according to the Reader’s Digest. To find out the advantages and disadvantages of Part C, click here.
NOTE: You still have to sign up for Parts A and B to be eligible for Part C.
9. Part D
Part D is your drug plan. It covers your prescription medications. Also offered through private insurance companies, almost everyone signs up for Part D in addition to original Medicare (Parts A and B).
10. Medicare Supplement Insurance
A supplement is fondly nicknamed a “Medigap plan.” It is referred to this way because it “fills in the gaps” of what Medicare Parts A and B doesn’t cover on its own. Without it, you leave yourself quite vulnerable. There is no limit to what you could spend in uncovered health care costs!
That should be enough to get you started on this often-overwhelming journey of Medicare planning. As you continue to learn more and plan your retirement, we are committed to keeping you up-to date and informed…in words you can understand. How did we do? Leave us a comment below to pose any questions or concerns!
Turning 65 soon and confused about Medicare? Click here to sign up for our free Medicare workshop. No high-pressure sales pitches here, just in-depth discussion about the ins and outs of Medicare! We put it into words you can understand.