Now that you’ve reached the point in your life when you can sign up for Medicare, you should know what these plans cover. Whether it’s preventive health services or hospital care, each plan can vary. When deciding what coverage you’d like to have for the upcoming year and potentially years to follow, knowing more about Medicare Parts A and B can help you make a decision that is better suited to your health needs.

Medicare Part A
If you choose Medicare Part A coverage, you can expect services such as lab tests, surgeries and doctor visits as well as supplied like wheelchairs and walkers to be covered. Items that are considered medically necessary to treat an individual’s condition or disease will be insured with Part A.

Hospital care is covered by Part A and includes inpatient services, skilled nursing facility care and long-term care hospitals. Nursing home care, hospice and home health services are also covered under Medicare Part A.

The company that provides your Medicare coverage will base their decision on federal and state laws to determine if a service or product is covered.

Individuals who have Medicare Part A typically don’t have a monthly premium if they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. For those who choose to buy Part A, it can cost up to $426 each month.

Medicare Part B
Part B also covers services and equipment that is deemed medically necessary by state and federal laws, similar to Part A. However, where the two plans differ is in preventive care.

Medicare Part B covers health care needed to prevent illness or detect a condition at an early stage when it’s more likely that treatment will have a significant impact.

Services and products covered under Part A include:

  • Clinical research
  • Ambulance services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization for mental health
  • Second opinions before surgery
  • Limited outpatient prescription drugs

There are services that aren’t covered by Medicare Parts A and B. These include:

  • Custodial care
  • Routine foot care
  • Most dental care
  • Hearing aids and exams to fit them
  • Eye examinations for prescription glasses
  • Acupuncture
  • Dentures
  • Cosmetic surgery

Most individuals who opt in to pay for Part A coverage also have Medicare Part B and pay for both plans. Those who just have Part B pay a monthly premium that is typically $104.90 each month. A Part B deductible is $147 per year. Part B coverage must be purchased when one reaches the age of eligibility and if they fail to do so they may be subject to a late enrollment fee.