Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) are often supplemented by either Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare Supplement Plans since Medicare itself leaves beneficiaries to pay for co-insurance bills and co-pay charges. Beneficiaries also have to meet an annual deductible for doctor services and a much larger deductible for hospital care, which may be required more than once a year.
Part A, which deals with hospital care, is free for most people, but Part B for doctor services requires beneficiaries to pay a monthly premium. In 2011, Part B premiums will remain about the same for most beneficiaries. People who are already paying higher premiums for Part B coverage will also face higher premiums for prescription drug plans (known as Part D coverage) beginning in January 2011.
Original Medicare will be expanding benefits to completely pay for many preventive services, including an annual “wellness” exam. Part D prescription plans, which are provided by private Medicare Supplement insurance providers, will also offer more. In 2011, coverage limits will increase to $2,840. That means plans will pay for 75 percent of prescription costs up to that amount. It’s important to remember that not all of these plans cover all prescriptions.
To eliminate duplicative plans, insurers are consolidating hundreds of Medicare supplement plans. According to AARP, up to a million Medicare beneficiaries will need to find new Medicare Supplement insurance coverage. You can learn about all of your options for completing your Medicare coverage right here on our website.