Today when you are eligible for Medicare you can choose to receive healthcare through the Original Medicare program only; or apply for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap Plan) to fill in the “gaps” in Medicare coverage with few if any co-pays or deductibles.
In many areas you can also opt for a Medicare Advantage Plan that may have lower premiums than a Medigap plan, even a $0 premium in some counties, but with more potential out-of-pocket expenses.
Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D) are also now on offer nationwide either as a stand-alone plan or bundled into a low-cost Medicare Advantage Plan.
Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)
Medicare Advantage Plans are a type of Medicare health plan offered by private companies that contract with Medicare to provide all Part A and Part B benefits. With Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare. Coverage may include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage as well as hospitalization, doctor visits, skilled nursing, medical tests, diagnostics and other services. Medicare Advantage Plans include HMOs, PPOs, Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS), and Special Needs Plans. Premiums are often low and $0 premium plans are available in many areas.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)
Medicare Part D is the federal government’s prescription drug program that covers both brand-name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies. These plans add drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, and some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans.
Medicare supplement policies (also known as Medigap plans) fill in gaps in Original Medicare coverage such as co-pays and deductibles for hospitalization, doctor visits and other medical services. Although these plans may cost more than Medicare Advantage plans, after paying the plan premium, there are few if any extra out-of-pocket expenses.