Medicare: The Basics

The federal government provides Original Medicare, which covers some of the costs of hospital stays (Part A) and doctor visits (Part B), but it doesn’t cover everything. It does not include prescription drug coverage (Part D). Although you are not required to enroll in Part D, there is a penalty of 1% of the average monthly premium for each month you delay enrollment. This must be paid monthly as long as you are enrolled in Part D. Depending on your needs, you may want to add on more coverage.

Original Medicare

Provided by the federal government

  • Part A: Helps pay for hospital stays and inpatient care
  • Part B: Helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care

Two options for more coverage:

Option 1:
Add one or both to Original Medicare:
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan

  • Offered by private companies
  • Helps pay some of the out-of-pocket-costs that come with Original Medicare
Medicare Part D Plan

  • Offered by private companies
  • Helps pay for prescription drugs
Option 2:
Choose a Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage Plan

  • Offered by private companies
  • Part C: Combines Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) in one plan
  • Part D: Usually includes prescription drug coverage
  • PLUS: May offer additional benefits not provided by Original Medicare