Test your Medicare knowledge

Understanding the basics of the "Medicare Universe" can truly help when a health crisis hits.

What does Medicare Part A help cover?

Medicare Part A helps cover hospital costs. Part A also helps cover hospice care, some skilled nursing facility care and home health care, under certain conditions. NOTE: Medicare does not cover items such as hearing aids or routine dental care.

What does Medicare Part B help cover?

In a nutshell, Medicare Part B helps cover medical services such as doctors' services, outpatient care and some medical equipment. The good news here is Medicare Part B takes care of some preventive services, such as flu shots and screenings for diabetes and certain cancers.

Part B does not cover routine vision care, however. And never plan on Medicare to cover your long-term care. Period.

What does Medicare Part D help cover?

Medicare Part D helps cover the costs of prescription drugs. But did you know, Part D plans are run by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. You won’t use Part D to pick up over-the-counter drugs or alternative therapies. Only prescription drugs.

READ MORE: Download the Plan Your Story 'Start Talking’'guidebook to quickly understand how easy it is to build an aging care plan for your family.

What services are not covered by Medicare?

As stated above, Medicare never covers the day-to-day expenses of long-term care. It will cover most of your health and prescription drug costs, but not all. Original Medicare does not cover routine dental, hearing or vision care either. However many Medicare Advantage plans cover these services (HMO and PPO).

Are you allowed to go to any doctor or hospital with Medicare Advantage?

Rarely. Most Medicare Advantage plans require you to go to the doctors and hospitals on their providers' list. If you do go to an outside service you may pay more or you may not be covered for services at all, except in emergencies.

What does Medicare Supplemental Insurance cover?

You might have heard the term Medigap? This Medicare supplemental insurance is designed to help pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that you'd otherwise be responsible for in the Original Medicare program (Parts A and B), depending on the policy you buy. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, an insurer cannot sell you a Medigap policy.

Before your aging parents can no longer make their own healthcare decisions, how do you decide what type of care is right for them?

Without a plan already in place, it can be overwhelming to be asked to make healthcare decisions for someone who is no longer able to make his or her own decisions. As you can imagine, making these decisions by a loved one's bedside is just tough. To get a better understanding of how to make healthcare decisions for a loved one, including approaches you can take, issues you might face, and questions you need to help prepare, you'll want the right tools for the job.

A comprehensive care plan, like Plan Your Story, is designed by aging experts to help families avoid rifts. It's never too late, or early, to create a plan, and you can build your care plan over time... together.

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