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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. Unfortunately, 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 care, but that basic level is riddled with coverage gaps.

To figure out how you can fill those gaps, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of the plans and what each 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:

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Dental coverage isn't included in Original Medicare or Medigap plans.

Dental coverage: What to expect from Medicare

May 10, 2019 – For half a century, Medicare has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage to America's seniors. But dental coverage isn't included… Read more

Medicare Savings Programs offer much-needed relief for beneficiaries with household incomes at or below Medicaid expansion levels.

Making Medicare work for the poorest Americans

May 4, 2019 – 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

Medicare Part D – prescription drug coverage

May 2, 2019 – About 45 million Americans have prescription drug benefits under Medicare Part D coverage, either through a stand-alone prescription drug… Read more

Medicare's annual open enrollment period offers beneficiaries a defense against changing plan design, increased premiums.

Four ways to adjust your Medicare coverage

April 23, 2019 – 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

If your income is high or very low – or you're feeling lucky – you might be able to rely on traditional Medicare. Here's why most people don't.

Is Original Medicare coverage enough?

April 19, 2019 – If you shun private coverage, can you get by on Original Medicare without purchasing supplemental coverage (Medigap and Part D prescription… Read more

Medicare Part B – outpatient coverage

April 19, 2019 – Medicare Part B picks up - to a large extent - where Medicare Part A leaves off, covering many of the outpatient services and products not… Read more

Medicare Part A – hospital insurance

April 19, 2019 – Medicare Part A coverage, commonly known as "hospital insurance," pays for a broad range of inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing… Read more

Seven rules for shopping Medicare Part D plans

Seven rules for shopping Medicare Part D plans

April 18, 2019 – 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

Depending on your plan, your Medicare coverage may give you more 'room to move' in retirement than you'd imagined.

Medicare coverage for snowbirds

April 5, 2019 – Will your "snowbird" lifestyle affect your health coverage in retirement? The good news is that Medicare’s nationwide coverage could make… Read more

Medicare Advantage (Part C) private health plans

March 9, 2019 – Medicare offers enrollees the option of going above and beyond their Original Medicare coverage by enrolling in Medicare… Read more

Original Medicare coverage doesn't cut it? Here are ten factors to help you decide which private insurance options you might need.

How to choose between Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Part D

February 10, 2019 – There’s no right or wrong choice – Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare plus supplemental coverage both work well. But there are… Read more

If you're a Medicare beneficiary and you plan to travel, you should consider supplemental coverage that will protect you in case of a medical emergency outside the United States.

A Medicare enrollee’s guide to travel coverage

February 10, 2019 – 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

Medigap – Medicare supplement insurance

September 16, 2018 – Millions of Medicare beneficiaries purchase Medicare supplement insurance to get help with Medicare expenses, including copayments,… Read more

Original Medicare

August 20, 2018 – Also called traditional Medicare, it is the fee-for-service program in which the government pays your health care costs. The coverage… Read more

In 2016, an estimated 11.7 million Medicare beneficiaries – about 20 percent of all enrollees – were also enrolled in Medicaid and are known as dual-eligible beneficiaries or dual-eligibles. And while you might not hear that term often – or at all – it's worth your time to understand what it means to have both Medicare and Medicaid (especially if you or a loved one is part of the "Medicare-Medicaid" population).

How Medicaid supports 1 in 5 Medicare enrollees

May 1, 2018 – In 2016, an estimated 11.7 million Medicare beneficiaries – about 20 percent of all enrollees – were also enrolled in Medicaid and are… Read more