If you are new to Medicare, you may be considering your options. When you are first eligible for Medicare – due to age or disability – you can choose to get your benefits through Original Medicare or through a Medicare Advantage plan. Original Medicare is the program administered by the federal government. Most people are automatically enrolled in premium-free Part A (Hospital Insurance) if they paid taxes for a certain period of time. Many Medicare recipients choose to enroll in Part B (Medical Insurance) when they are first eligible. There is a monthly premium and an annual deductible for Part B coverage.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) is optional coverage, but most Medicare recipients choose to enroll when they qualify for Medicare. Part B helps cover the costs of medically necessary services and supplies and preventive care. It can include doctor visits, outpatient procedures, durable medical equipment, and screenings and vaccinations deemed medically necessary by a Medicare-approved physician. Medical equipment must meet specific criteria and be ordered by your physician and you must rent or purchase the device from a supplier who is participating in Medicare. In order for Medicare Part B to help pay for your expenses, you must visit a physician, facilities, and suppliers who accept assignment.
Millions of Medicare beneficiaries choose to get their benefits through a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are offered by private insurance companies who contract with Medicare to provide your Part A and Part B benefits. MA plans are required to provide at least the same coverage as Original Medicare, but most offer additional benefits including vision and dental care, hearing exams, prescription drug coverage, and even gym memberships.