Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 and older, and for certain individuals with disabilities. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, while Part B covers doctor services. Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans offered by private companies, and Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage. Medicare beneficiaries can stay in the traditional federal program, and purchase supplemental policies from insurance carriers. In some parts of the country, older adults have the option to enroll in Medicare Cost plans offered by private companies
On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. Among many other Medicare related issues, this act extended through 2015 the ability of insurance companies to offer contracts known as Medicare Cost plans. These popular plans allow Medicare members to purchase or leave them anytime during the year. They provide medical coverage, and in some cases, prescription drug coverage options, at an affordable premium. This is good news for the insurance companies in the states, like Minnesota, that sell this type of Medicare policy. BlueCross and BlueShield of Minnesota, HealthPartners and Medica all offer Medicare Cost Plans.
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