The Medicare Alphabet

The Medicare Alphabet refers to the categories of benefits that Medicare offers. Each part has unique advantages. For both Parts A and B, you receive your benefits directly from the federal government.

Part A: Hospital Insurance

The Part A of Medicare includes:

  • Inpatient hospitalization
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Home health care 
  • Hospice care

Part B: Medical Insurance

The following are included under this category of Medicare:

  • Doctor visits and other medical providers
  • Preventative benefits, such as welfare benefits
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Outpatient services

Part C: Medical Advantage

With Part C, you can receive care through a private insurance provider. 

Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D does not come directly from the federal government. 

  • You can pick up your plan through a private insurance carrier in your area.
  • There are many different plans; they have varying premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and formulary lists. 
  • Review your Part D plan each year during fall open enrollment periods.

Parts A, B, and D are part of traditional Medicare, or you can opt for a bundled solution that is managed through private insurance that the federal government subsidizes. In that particular instance, all three parts, Part A, B, and D, are included in the coverage. There are noted exceptions in Part D, but for the most part, you get all three.

So What Does the Enrollment Process Look Like?

  • You enroll for parts A and B through social security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).
  • If you are already receiving SS benefits, your enrollment is automatic.

Three Ways To Enroll

You can enroll in three ways:

  1. Online, through the social security website (
  2. Visit a social security local site during their Open Enrollment
  3. Make a physical application and fax it to your local social security office.

When Is the Best Time To Enroll?

The open enrollment period starts three months before the month of your birthday and three months prior, for a total of seven months, to avoid penalties.

Let’s say, for example, if you turn 65 on May 20, your initial enrollment runs from February 1 to August 31. If you try to apply outside of that window, then you could be subject to penalties on future premiums.

How Much Does Medicare Cost?

Part A is free if you have a work history of 40 quarters or ten years. You can also qualify on your spouse’s work history if you’ve been married for at least one year. There’s a special rule for divorced and widowed individuals.

Part B’s monthly premium is $170.10 in 2022, for new enrollees. The new premium for 2023 will be $164.90.

Part D is scalable, ranging from $7/month to $205/month, depending on your choice of insurance.

Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) for individuals earning more than $91K (individual) and $182K (Joint) have a sliding scale for Parts B and D based on modified, adjusted gross income on their tax returns.


As you can see, Medicare insurance plans have many benefits to offer. Anyone can use them, and they have a wide range of providers nationwide. You can choose any provider that accepts Medicare and even get minimal prior authorization requirements if ordered by a health care provider. Each plan has

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