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  • Home Knowledge Center What is Medicare Part A & Part B (Original Medicare)?

    What is Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)?

    Original Medicare has 2 parts: Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance). Learn more about the benefits and costs of Original Medicare.

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    How does Original Medicare work?

    Original Medicare is a federal health care program made up of both Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). It’s a fee-for-service plan, which means you can go to any doctor, hospital, or other facility that’s enrolled in and accepts Medicare, and is taking new patients.

    Medicare was set up to help people 65 and older. In 1972, Medicare became available to people with disabilities and End-Stage Renal Disease/kidney failure.

    What does Medicare Part A and Part B cover?

    Original Medicare

    Part A

    Hospital Insurance

  • Hospital Stays
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospice care
  • Some Home Health Care
  • You can enroll in Medicare Part A once you turn 65. If you're already collecting Social Security disability benefits, you'll be automatically enrolled in Part A.

    Part B

    Medical Insurance

  • Doctor visits
  • Outpatient care
  • Medical supplies
  • Some preventive services
  • Medicare pays 80 percent of approved charges and you pay about 20 percent.

    Part B is optional because you have to pay a monthly premium and meet a deductible before Medicare will pay benefits.

    Looking for a Medicare Advantage plan?

    Cigna Healthcare offers plans with low or no monthly premiums, and often with dental and vision, too.

    Explore our Medicare Advantage plans

    What does Medicare Part A and B not cover?

    Medicare Part A and Part B does not cover:

    • Long-term care (i.e. nursing homes)
    • Most dental care (i.e. dentures)
    • Eye exams for prescription glasses
    • Cosmetic surgery
    • Hearing exams and hearing aids
    • Routine foot care
    • Health care outside of the US

    What’s the difference between Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B?

    Part A is the hospital services part of Medicare. This benefit covers inpatient care, hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and medically needed home health care services.

    Part B is the medical services part of Medicare. It covers many of the medically necessary services not covered in Part A, such as outpatient and preventive services. This involves things like x-rays, bloodwork, doctor’s visits, and outpatient care. It will also cover other medical items such as diabetic test strips, nebulizers, and wheelchairs.

    Do Medicare Part A and Part B cover prescription drugs?

    Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) only covers prescriptions in a couple of instances. This can be medications you get as part of inpatient hospital care, as well as injections and infusions you may get in a doctor’s office.

    Find out more about Part B vs. Part D drug coverage

    You’ll need to enroll in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to be covered for outpatient prescription medications.

    Learn more about Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

    What do Medicare Part A and B cost?

    With both Medicare Part A and B, you have to pay annual deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. For certain medical procedures, you may have additional out-of-pocket costs to pay. You can buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (Medigap), which can help pay some of these costs.

    What does Part A cost?

    With Medicare Part A, you may have to pay copays and deductibles for hospital stays, but may not have to pay a monthly premium. Copays and deductibles apply to hospital benefit periods, which start when you enter a hospital or skilled nursing facility, and end 60 days after you’ve left the facility (as long as you have not received skilled care in any other facility during those 60 days). It’s important to note that:

    • For each hospital benefit period, you pay a deductible.
    • You pay a copay if you’ve stayed in a hospital for more than 60 days.
    • There’s no deductible or copayment for home health care or hospice care.

    For many people, Part A comes without a monthly premium. You may have no monthly premium if you paid a certain amount toward Medicare taxes while working. In this case, you are often automatically enrolled in premium-free Part A.

    If you don’t automatically get premium-free Part A, you may be able to buy it if you (or your spouse/partner):

    • Are age 65 or older and allowed to (or are enrolling in) Part B to meet the citizenship and residency requirements.
    • Are under age 65 and are disabled but no longer get premium-free Part A because you returned to work.

    What does Part B cost?

    With Medicare Part B, you pay a standard monthly premium that’s based on your income. In some cases, your monthly premium may be higher if you didn’t sign up for Part B when you became eligible.

    You may also need to meet an annual deductible before Medicare kicks in and starts paying. Once you’ve met your deductible, you will pay a 20 percent copay for approved Medicare Part B services.

    You can always buy a Medicare Supplement Plan that pays your Part B deductible, as well as other out-of-pocket costs such as copays and coinsurance.

    How do you enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)?

    To enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you must be 65 and don’t necessarily have to be retired. Initial enrollment period packages are sent to people 3 months before they turn 65 or during their 25th month of disability benefits.

    If you’ve received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, you are automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B.

    Need help paying for Medicare?

    Medicare gives financial aid for people who have limited income and support. If you feel you may qualify, you can learn about eligibility requirements by either:

    • Visiting www.socialsecurity.gov
    • Or calling the Social Security Administration at . (TTY/TDD users should call ).

    Tags

  • Medicare Part A
  • Medicare Part B
  • Original Medicare
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  • Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Policy Disclaimers

    Cigna Healthcare products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of The Cigna Group. The Cigna Healthcare names, logos, and marks, including THE CIGNA GROUP and CIGNA HEALTHCARE are owned by The Cigna Group Intellectual Property, Inc. Subsidiaries of The Cigna Group contract with Medicare to offer Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans and Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) in select states, and with select State Medicaid programs. Enrollment in a Cigna Healthcare product depends on contract renewal.

    To file a marketing complaint, contact Cigna Healthcare or call 1-800-MEDICARE (), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, TTY . Please include the agent/broker name if possible.

    Medicare Supplement Policy Disclaimers

    Medicare Supplement website content not approved for use in: Oregon.

    AN OUTLINE OF COVERAGE IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. We'll provide an outline of coverage to all persons at the time the application is presented.

    Our company and agents are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation for insurance. An insurance agent may contact you. Premium and benefits vary by plan selected. Plan availability varies by state. Medicare Supplement policies are underwritten by Cigna National Health Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, American Retirement Life Insurance Company or Loyal American Life Insurance Company. Each insurer has sole responsibility for its own products.

    The following Medicare Supplement Plans are available to persons eligible for Medicare due to disability: Plan A in Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia; Plans A, F, and G in North Carolina; and Plans C and D in New Jersey for individuals aged 50-64. Medicare Supplement policies contain exclusions, limitations, and terms under which the policies may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact the company.

    This website is designed as a marketing aid and is not to be construed as a contract for insurance. It provides a brief description of the important features of the policy. Please refer to the policy for the full terms and conditions of coverage.

    In Kentucky, Plans A, F, G, HDG, N are available under Cigna National Health Insurance Company, Plans A, F, G, HDF, N are available under Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company and Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, N are available under Loyal American Life Insurance Company.

    Kansas Disclosures, Exclusions and Limitations

    Medicare Supplement Policy Forms: Plan A: CNHIC-MS-AA-A-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-A-KS; Plan F: CNHIC-MS-AA-F-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-F-KS; Plan G: CNHIC-MS-AA-G-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-G-KS; Plan N: CNHIC-MS-AA-N-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-N-KS

    Exclusions and Limitations:

    The benefits of this policy will not duplicate any benefits paid by Medicare. The combined benefits of this policy and the benefits paid by Medicare may not exceed one-hundred percent (100%) of the Medicare Eligible Expenses incurred. This policy will not pay benefits for the following:

    (1) the Medicare Part B Deductible;

    (2) any expense which You are not legally obligated to pay; or services for which no charge is normally made in the absence of insurance;

    (3) any services that are not medically necessary as determined by Medicare;

    (4) any portion of any expense for which payment is made by Medicare or other government programs (except Medicaid); or for which payment would have been made by Medicare if You were enrolled in Parts A and B of Medicare;

    (5) any type of expense not a Medicare Eligible Expense except as provided previously in this policy;

    (6) any deductible, Coinsurance or Co-payment not covered by Medicare, unless such coverage is listed as a benefit in this policy; or

    (7) Preexisting Conditions: We will not pay for any expenses incurred for care or treatment of a Preexisting Condition for the first six (6) months from the effective date of coverage. This exclusion does not apply if You applied for and were issued this policy under guaranteed issue status; if on the date of application for this policy You had at least six (6) months of prior Creditable Coverage; or, if this policy is replacing another Medicare Supplement policy and a six (6) month waiting period has already been satisfied. Evidence of prior coverage or replacement must have been disclosed on the application for this policy. If You had less than six (6) months prior Creditable Coverage, the Preexisting Conditions limitation will be reduced by the aggregate amount of Creditable Coverage. If this policy is replacing another Medicare Supplement policy, credit will be given for any portion of the waiting period that has been satisfied.

    Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna Healthcare website.

    Y0036_24_1037312_M | Page last updated 01/01/2024

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