Social Security Q&A: What Are the Different Parts of Medicare?

Social Security Q&A: What Are the Different Parts of Medicare?

Question: I will rely on Medicare when I retire. Can you explain the different parts of Medicare?

Answer: The different parts of Medicare cover your specific needs. There are four parts, all of which work in tandem to deliver health care services.

Part A (hospital insurance): Hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care.

Part B (medical insurance): Medical insurance helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that hospital insurance doesn’t cover.

Part C (Medicare Advantage plans): If you have Medicare Parts A and B, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan. Private companies offer Medicare Advantage plans, which are approved by Medicare. These plans generally help you pay the medical costs not covered by Medicare Part A and B.

Part D (prescription drug coverage): Prescription drug coverage helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment.

Q: How can I check the status of a pending application for retirement benefits?

A: If you applied for retirement or disability benefits online, you can check the status of your application at http://www.socialsecurity.gov by selecting “Benefits” and “Check Application Status” under “Apply.” You will need to enter your Social Security number and the confirmation code you received when you filed online.

Your application status will show:

The date Social Security received your application. Any requests for additional documents. The address of the office processing your application. If a decision has been made.

Q: What is the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?

A: The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $2,663. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be only $2,025. If you retire at age 70 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $3,501. To get a better idea of what your benefit might be, visit the Social Security online Retirement Estimator at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire/estimator.html.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. Visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

Author: Tribune News Service

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