Are There Any Medicare Alternatives?
29 Feb, 2012
It is important for people to be covered under health insurance plans since healthcare has become very costly in times today. Cost of medication and hospitalization is on the rise and people find it really difficult to pay for it. Medicare provides health insurance coverage which is very beneficial for those who cannot afford to bear the high costs. However, there are a lot of people who look out for Medicare alternatives as they like to compare the options and choose whatever covers all their healthcare needs. The various Medicare alternatives are as follows:
Original Medicare: This program includes two parts namely, Part A and Part B.
Medicare Part A:
Medicare Part A helps pay for 90 days of hospital care after a nominal annual deductible is satisfied. The medical care covered during a hospital stay includes:
- Semi-private room
- Operating room, coronary care unit, intensive care unit
- Medicines provided by the hospital
Part A cover also includes home health care, when considered necessary.
Medicare Part B:
Medicare Part B is called Supplementary medical insurance which helps to cover outpatient services including ambulance services, office visits, and preventative services. When any person is enrolled in Part A, they are by default enrolled in Part B as well, unless they decide to opt out of Part B coverage.
Features of Medicare Part D:
Medicare Part D is a prescription drugs plan in which individuals are covered for the costs of prescription drugs. The coverage is provided by private insurance companies and can be used by anybody enrolled in Medicare. However, the plan does not provide one with cover for over-the-counter drugs and also for all prescription medicines.
Medigap is a supplementary healthcare plan and helps pay for certain features which are not covered under Original Medicare. There are a total of 12 plans ranging from A to L which are offered by private insurance companies. The premium for these programs depends upon the services for which the particular plan will pay; for instance blood transfusions, clinical visits etc. Individuals can register for a Medigap plan only during a period of 6 months after they sign up for Medicare Part B.
However,it is important to know that although Medigap policy is regulated by Medicare, it is not considered to be a government plan. The government has formulated a standardized approach for all Medigap policies. The coverage of the 11 Medigap plans is different from Medicare. Patients can make a selection of a plan depending upon the coverage each plan offers and their requirements.
Medigap policies are very beneficial for people who suffer from illnesses that involve huge costs. Patients have an option of either adding or dropping the policies at a later stage. Medigap plans are accepted by all Medicare providers. Medigap policy does not cover the costs of medicines.
Medicare Advantage plan is also called Medicare Health Plan. This alternative is not included along with Original Medicare. To sign up for this plan, individuals need to pay a small co-payment in order to cover the costs of doctor’s visits.
Medicare HMO (Health Maintenance Organization Plan):
Under this plan, individuals can only visit the doctors, specialists and hospitals listed on the plan’s network. Additional coverage which includes prescription drugs, dental and hearing related services is offered by HMOs at lower deductibles and co-payments.
Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP):
Individuals suffering from diseases like HIV or congestive heart failure or perhaps individuals who have been institutionalized in a medical facility like a nursing home can benefit from this plan.
These Medicare alternatives cater to the healthcare needs of every individual.