elderly womanEntering into midlife brings about a completely new set of life issues. One concern is elderly parents and their lack of understanding. Medicare can be a confusing conglomerate of health care insurance coverages. That comes to no surprise, as this is generally the case with most government programs. For seniors, making insurance decisions and sorting through Medicare coverage can be an overwhelming experience. This simplified outline will give a better understanding of the basic Medicare structure.

Medical Parts Defined
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that deals with inpatient care, hospice, nursing homes, and home health care. Generally, those who have worked and paid into the fund receive this coverage without owing additional premiums.

Medicare B is medical insurance to help cover medically necessary items such as doctor visits, outpatient care, home health services, and some preventative services. This coverage requires a standard premium for most people.

Medicare Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage Plan. Oftentimes these plans are HMOs or PPOs. Insurance coverage is offered by companies approved by Medicare. Premiums and coverage varies dependent upon the retirees’ selection. By joining a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan will provide all of your Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs.

Medicare Part D deals with prescription drugs. Most Advantage Plans (Part C) include a Medicare part D plan covering prescription drugs. These prescription drug programs are run by the approved insurance companies. Drug coverage will vary based on plan and premiums.

Tips for Selecting Medicare Insurance Providers
The first step to selecting a Medicare provider is to create a medical budget based on personal health needs. Be sure to obtain the monthly Social Security benefit amount prior to selecting a Medicare plan to determine a budget base.

In order to receive the most efficient Medicare coverage, as with any insurance purchase, comparing coverage and premiums offered by the individual companies is the vital. Medicare plans vary widely, as much as from one county to another, making the process even more confusing. The elderly will more than likely need assistance with these steps, even though they may say otherwise. I went through this process last year with my father. While he did understand the basics, he was confused on the coverage parts. Had I not been there to ask the questions he may not have bought the best coverage for his situation.

In summary, get the financials, create a budget, gather quotes, and ask questions. These will help a senior to get most out of Medicare coverage.