What is Medicare?
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for:
People who are 65 or older
Certain younger people with disabilities
People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD)
The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services:
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) - Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) - Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)- Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs (including many recommended shots or vaccines).
What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?
Medicare Supplement Insurance helps fill "gaps" in Original Medicare and is sold by private companies. Original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost of covered health care services and supplies. A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs, like: Copayments Coinsurance Deductibles.
You must have Medicare Part A and Part B before adding a supplement.
How does Medicare Advantage Plans Work?
A Medicare Advantage is another way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called "Part C" or "MA Plans," are offered by Medicare-approved private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you'll still have Medicare but you'll get most of your Part A and Part B coverage from your Medicare Advantage Plan, not Original Medicare.
These "bundled" plans include Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and usually Medicare drug coverage (Part D).