Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B are known, together, as the two parts of ordinary, “public” Medicare. You probably already know that Medicare is the government healthcare program with the single highest approval rating of any federal entitlement plan in the United States. When you think about Medicare, what you are actually thinking of is a combination of Part A and Part B. One “Part” covers in-patient procedures — those that occur in hospitals and at other medical providers. The other Medicare “Part” deals with any medical needs on an outpatient basis, for example, prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs. There is also Part C, Medicare Advantage.

For the most part, Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B add up to very extensive healthcare coverage. On the whole, they cover 80% of most procedures. In fact, there are some rare cases where Medicare can cover up to 100% of certain kinds of treatments and medical necessities. But there is also a catch — Medicare Part A and Part B are known to have at least one major shortcoming for the average benefit recipient. That shortfall is a lack of attention to eye health, and it is one reason why many people turn to a Medicare Advantage plan.

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Medicare Part A and Part B cover very little in the way of eye health. In fact, one of the only procedures covered by these two areas is a cataract surgery. Now, this on its own is a good thing; cataracts are extremely common, and removing them is both quick and easy compared to many other medical procedures. But there are many people, such as diabetes sufferers and those who have chronic congenital vision defects, who will need more coverage than traditional Medicare is prepared to offer. For these people, a Medicare Advantage plan is one of the best investments that they can make.

If you have annual or semi-annual eye health needs — for example, you see a doctor to upgrade your prescription for eyeglasses on this basis — you should definitely give thought to a Medicare Advantage plan. As it stands, even routine eye exams and preventative tests are not usually covered by Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. You receive rudimentary coverage for certain tests, such as glaucoma screenings, only if you are part of a population that has been identified as being at high risk for certain eye problems. If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration or any other serious eye issue, consider Medicare Part C.