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Does Original Medicare Really Cover 80% of Healthcare Costs or Do You Need Part B?

Medicare Really Cover 80% of Healthcare

Understanding Medicare

To determine if Original Medicare covers 80% of your healthcare costs, it’s important to first understand what Medicare is and how the different parts work.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for Americans aged 65 and older, but also for some younger people with disabilities. It consists of different coverage components, each with its own costs and benefits:

  • Part A: Hospital/inpatient coverage
  • Part B: Medical/outpatient coverage
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Part D: Prescription drug plans
  • Medigap: Supplemental insurance plans

Original Medicare vs. Other Parts of Medicare

What’s called “Original Medicare” refers specifically to Medicare Part A and Part B deductible. It’s the original fee-for-service program administered directly by the federal government.

The other parts of Medicare – Part C Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D deductible prescription plans – are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These involve different costs, benefits, and coverage rules.

What Does Original Medicare Cover?

To determine if Original Medicare covers 80% of costs, we need to look at what’s included under Part A and Part B.

Part A Coverage

Medicare Part A helps cover:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Nursing home care (limited)
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

Part A covers 100% of costs for the first 60 days of a hospital stay after the deductible. It then covers 80% of approved costs for days 61-90 and 60% for days 91-150 after paying the deductible again.

Beyond 150 days, Part A provides no coverage. You would pay 100% of costs out-of-pocket or need additional supplemental insurance.

Part B Coverage

Medicare Part B helps cover:

  • Doctors’ services and outpatient care
  • Preventive services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Ambulance services
  • Mental health services
  • Clinical research
  • Limited medications

Part B covers 80% of approved costs after the annual deductible is met. Preventive services are often fully covered. You pay the remaining 20% coinsurance.

Part A and Part B Coverage Together

Used together, Original Medicare (Parts A and B) covers some portion of enrollees’ inpatient and outpatient medical costs.

Part A covers all inpatient/hospital services, while Part B covers outpatient/medical services. The 80/20 coinsurance structure limits complete coverage.

Costs Associated with Original Medicare

Although it covers a portion of medical expenses, Original Medicare does not cover 100% of typical healthcare costs for most enrollees.

Out-of-Pocket Costs

In addition to premiums, Original Medicare has:

  • Deductibles for Part A and Part B
  • Coinsurance (20% of the Medicare-approved amount)
  • Copays for some services

These costs can add up, especially with frequent medical needs.

Medicare Part B Premium

Most enrollees pay the standard Medicare Part B premium each month. In 2023, the standard premium is $164.90 per month for Part B coverage.

Higher income enrollees pay more based on their income as reported on federal tax forms.

Late Enrollment Penalties

You may owe a late enrollment penalty if you don’t sign up for Part B when first eligible and don’t have other coverage. The penalty is 10% for each full 12-month period you delayed enrolling. This penalty amount increases your monthly Part B premium.

Medicare Supplement Insurance

Many enrollees purchase Medicare will pay  the Supplement insurance to help cover Original Medicare out-of-pocket costs like coinsurance, copays, and deductibles that can amount to thousands of dollars per year.

Additional Coverage Options for Original Medicare

To reduce your out-of-pocket expenses in Original Medicare, you may want to add supplemental coverage.

Prescription Drugs Coverage

Original Medicare does not cover most prescription medications. To get drug coverage, you need to enroll in a separate Medicare Part D prescription drug plan offered by private insurers.

Hospital Insurance Options

Medigap Plan F fully covers your Medicare Part A deductible and coinsurance. Other options like Plan G cover the coinsurance only.

Outpatient Care and Other Services

Medigap Plans cover some or all of your Medicare Part B coinsurance, copays and deductible amounts. Plans D, G and K help cover these costs.

Understanding Medicare Part B

Part B plays an important role in filling the coverage gaps of Original Medicare.

What Does Medicare Part B Cover?

As discussed earlier, Part B covers a wide range of outpatient and medical services from doctor visits to lab tests to ambulance transportation and medical equipment.

It covers 80% of approved charges after the deductible is met. You pay the remaining 20% coinsurance.

Costs for Part B Coverage

Medicare Part B has a standard monthly premium of $164.90 in 2023, although higher earners pay more. Part B also has a $226 annual deductible and 20% coinsurance on most services.

Medigap Plan F covers the deductible and coinsurance. Plans C and D help cover coinsurance costs.


In summary, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) does not cover the full 100% of healthcare costs for most enrollees. Part A covers inpatient services at 80% in many cases. Part B covers only 80% of outpatient costs after meeting the deductible. Significant coinsurance, copays, and deductibles apply.

Adding coverage like Medigap or Part D prescription plans can help reduce Original Medicare out-of-pocket costs. Understanding all the costs associated with Parts A and B is important when deciding on additional coverage.

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What does Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage include?

 Medicare Part D Plans cover many brand name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies. Plans have a monthly premium, deductible, and copays or coinsurance.

What durable medical equipment does Medicare cover?

Medicare covers items like walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen, hospital beds, and other equipment that is medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor.

 Can I purchase private medical insurance to supplement Medicare?

Yes, you can purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan to help pay Medicare out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and coinsurance. These are also called Medigap plans.

What’s covered under Medicare Part A and Part B?

 Part A deductible covers inpatient hospital stays while Part B premium covers doctor visits, tests, durable medical equipment and other outpatient care services. Part B also has a monthly premium.

t period in Medicare Part A and Part B?

A Medicare Part A benefit period starts the day you’re admitted to a hospital or skilled nursing facility. It ends when you have 60 days in a row without receiving care.

When can I enroll in Medicare Part B?

 You can enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period when you first become eligible, or you may have to pay a late penalty if you enroll later.

Does Medicare cover prescription drugs under Part D?

 Yes, but only if you enroll in a separate Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Original Medicare does not include drug coverage.

What hospital care is covered under Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A covers medically necessary inpatient hospital stays including semi-private rooms, meals, nursing care, and other hospital services and supplies.

 Does Original Medicare Really Cover 80% of Healthcare Costs or do I need Part B?

 Original Medicare covers a portion of your healthcare costs, but it does not cover everything. It typically covers about 80% of your Medicare-approved expenses, leaving you responsible for the remaining 20% out-of-pocket. Part B is an important component of Original Medicare that helps cover outpatient care, doctor visits, and other medical services. Therefore, you need to enroll in Part B to have the full coverage.

 What are out-of-pocket costs?

 Out-of-pocket costs refer to the expenses that you have to pay directly, beyond what is covered by Medicare or any other insurance. These costs include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Medicare covers a portion of your healthcare expenses, leaving you responsible for the remaining out-of-pocket costs.

 Where can I find information about Medicare Part B cost?

 Information about Medicare Part B costs can be obtained from the official website of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS provides detailed information about Part B premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts. You can also contact your local Social Security office for assistance or visit the Medicare website.

 What is hospital insurance in Original Medicare?

 Hospital insurance, also known as Medicare Part A, is one of the components of Original Medicare. It helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care services. Part A has its own premiums, deductibles, and cost-sharing requirements.

 Can I get extra coverage for the 20% that Original Medicare doesn’t cover?

 Yes, you have the option to purchase a Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) policy from a private insurance company. Medigap policies can help cover some of the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. These policies can provide additional financial protection and peace of mind.

What is the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Part B?

 Original Medicare refers to the combination of Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Part B specifically covers outpatient care, doctor visits, preventive services, and medically necessary services. It requires you to pay a monthly premium, and you may also have to pay deductibles and coinsurance for the services you receive.

Do I have to pay a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B?

A: You may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B if you delay enrolling in Part B after you become eligible. The penalty is added to your monthly premium and can increase the cost of your Medicare coverage. It is important to enroll in Part B during your initial enrollment period to avoid potential penalties.

What does Medicare Part B services cover?

 Medicare Part B covers a wide range of services and supplies that are considered medically necessary. This includes doctor visits, outpatient care, preventive services (such as screenings and vaccines), durable medical equipment, ambulance services, and certain outpatient mental health services. It helps ensure you have access to essential medical care.

Does Medicare cover all healthcare costs?

 No, Medicare does not cover all healthcare costs. While it provides important coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits, and other medical services, it does not cover everything. For example, Medicare doesn’t cover most prescription drugs, long-term care, dental care, vision care, or cosmetic procedures. It is important to understand what is covered and what is not covered by Medicare.

How do I know if I am eligible for Medicare?

You are generally eligible for Medicare if you are 65 years or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you or your spouse has paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years while working. However, there are some exceptions and special circumstances that may make you eligible for Medicare before turning 65. You can check your eligibility by contacting Social Security or visiting their website.

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