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Understanding your Medicare plan options

Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Part D and Medigap

The way Medicare plans are alphabetized – from A to D – one might be fooled into thinking that there are but a few options to consider.

But deciding which Medicare coverage is right for you is definitely not as easy as a multiple-choice question with a single right answer.

Medicare was designed with the idea that the vast majority of Americans would eventually receive a uniform level of coverage and care once they became eligible. And recipients do receive a basic level of coverage. But that basic level also has some gaps, including a lack of coverage for prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care, and the lack of a cap on out-of-pocket costs.

To figure out how you can fill those gaps, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of the parts of Medicare and what each one covers.

Medicare coverage options

The main coverage options include:

Read more about those basic coverage options – and also how to improve or change your coverage – in the articles below:

Medicare Part D – prescription drug coverage photo

Medicare Part D – prescription drug coverage

November 15, 2021 – About 46 million Americans have prescription drug benefits under Medicare Part D coverage, either through a stand-alone prescription drug… Read more

Medicare Advantage (Part C) private health plans photo

Medicare Advantage (Part C) private health plans

November 15, 2021 – Medicare Advantage provides Medicare-covered benefits through private insurance companies. Learn about enrollment, plan benefits, costs,… Read more

How to choose between Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Part D photo

How to choose between Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Part D

November 13, 2021 – Considering a change to your Medicare coverage? Consider these 10 factors when choosing between Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Part D… Read more

Original Medicare photo

Original Medicare

November 13, 2021 – Original Medicare is the fee-for-service program in which the government pays beneficiaries' healthcare costs. Get details about coverage… Read more

Medicare Part B – outpatient coverage photo

Medicare Part B – outpatient coverage

November 13, 2021 – Learn how Medicare Part B covers outpatient services and products and pays for health care services, preventive services, and durable… Read more

Medicare Advantage’s supplemental benefits photo

Medicare Advantage’s supplemental benefits

October 5, 2021 – Insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans now have the flexibility to include more supplemental benefits focused on improving quality of… Read more

Medicare Part A – hospital insurance photo

Medicare Part A – hospital insurance

October 5, 2021 – Learn about Medicare Part A coverage of inpatient medical care – from hospital beds to skilled nursing facilities and hospice… Read more

Medigap – Medicare supplement insurance photo

Medigap – Medicare supplement insurance

October 2, 2021 – Medigap helps with expenses such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Learn about enrollment, plan benefits and costs. Get a free… Read more

Is Original Medicare coverage enough? photo

Is Original Medicare coverage enough?

August 26, 2021 – If you shun private coverage, can you get by on Original Medicare without purchasing supplemental coverage (Medigap and Part D prescription… Read more

How Medicaid supports 1 in 5 Medicare enrollees photo

How Medicaid supports 1 in 5 Medicare enrollees

August 26, 2021 – In 2016, an estimated 11.7 million Medicare beneficiaries – about 20 percent of all enrollees – were also enrolled in Medicaid and are… Read more

What caregivers need to know about Medicare’s coverage photo

What caregivers need to know about Medicare’s coverage

August 6, 2021 – Medicare will generally pay for services related to your loved one's specific illnesses or injuries, but it generally won't help cover the… Read more

Seven rules for shopping Medicare Part D plans photo

Seven rules for shopping Medicare Part D plans

July 23, 2021 – From my experience dealing with frustrated Medicare enrollees, I can tell you that selecting the right prescription drug plan is one of the… Read more

Four ways to adjust your Medicare coverage photo

Four ways to adjust your Medicare coverage

July 10, 2021 – If you're like most Medicare enrollees, you probably aren't planning to make any changes to your existing coverage for the coming year, but… Read more

Four signs you need to change your Medicare Part D coverage photo

Four signs you need to change your Medicare Part D coverage

July 8, 2021 – Some Medicare beneficiaries stick with the same MA-PD or Part D plan and do well with it for years. But before you settle for your current… Read more

Dental coverage: What to expect from Medicare photo

Dental coverage: What to expect from Medicare

July 6, 2021 – For half a century, Medicare has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage to America's seniors. But dental coverage isn't included… Read more

Medicare coverage for snowbirds photo

Medicare coverage for snowbirds

July 6, 2021 – Will your "snowbird" lifestyle affect your health coverage in retirement? The good news is that Medicare’s nationwide coverage could make… Read more

8 ways to cut your prescription drug costs photo

8 ways to cut your prescription drug costs

July 2, 2021 – But prescription drugs – and drug coverage – can be less expensive if you're willing to do a little research  and to reach out for… Read more

A Medicare enrollee’s guide to travel coverage photo

A Medicare enrollee’s guide to travel coverage

August 27, 2020 – If you're a Medicare beneficiary and you plan to travel, you should consider supplemental coverage that will protect you in case of a… Read more

Making Medicare work for the poorest Americans photo

Making Medicare work for the poorest Americans

January 9, 2020 – There are three main ways for lower-income Medicare beneficiaries to cover out of-pocket-costs when they can't afford to purchase a Medigap… Read more

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