Medicare is a federal program offered to seniors when they reach 65, certain people with disabilities, and those with ESRD.
Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A (Hospital) and Medicare Part B (Medical). Supplemental Medicare options are also offered to “fill the gaps” in Medicare coverage. Supplemental Medicare options include Medigap, Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Medicare Part D) and are sold by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare.
You are eligible for Medicare during the 7 month period surrounding your 65th birthday. This 7 month period is called an initial enrollment period and comprises the 3 months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and the 3 months after.
Medicare includes Parts A, B, C and D. Parts A and B are considered Original Medicare. When you sign up for Medicare you are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B.
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 C (Medicare Advantage Plans)
Part C essentially replaces Part A and Part B and typically includes Part D. Each Advantage Plan offers different cost and coverage options.
Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)
Part D is a drug program that helps to better cover drug costs.
Medigap is a supplemental insurance which requires Part A and Part B. It is an alternative to Medicare Advantage and is sold by private companies. You can choose to also supplement your Original Medicare coverage with Part D as well as Medigap insurance, but cannot have an Advantage Plan and Medigap policy at the same time.
Original Medicare can be paired with Medigap policies (Part A through N) which are an alternative to Advantage Plans.
Once you sign up for Part A and B, you will receive your Red, White and Blue card (pictured below). Once you receive that card, call us and we will go over the different options you have.