Medicare Plan Choices
What are Medicare Health Plans?
Medicare health plans provide different ways to get your health care
coverage in the Medicare program. The Medicare health plan that you choose affects many things like cost, benefits, doctor choice, convenience, and quality. Your Medicare health plan choices include:
The Medicare health plan that you choose affects many things like cost, benefits, doctor choice, convenience, and quality. To compare your Medicare health plan choices, go to the Medicare Personal Plan Finder.
- The Original Medicare Plan - Available nationwide. If you get your health care from the Original Medicare Plan, you use your red, white, and blue Medicare card to get your health care. The Original Medicare Plan pays for many health care services and supplies, but it doesn’t pay all of your health care costs. There are costs that you must pay, like coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. These costs are called “gaps” in Medicare coverage. You might want to consider buying a Medigap policy to cover these gaps in Medicare coverage. For additional information on the Original Medicare Plan, visit the Original Medicare Plan section of our website.
Medicare Advantage (formerly Medicare + Choice) Plans - Available in many areas. If you have one of these plans, you don’t need a Medigap policy. Medicare Advantage Plans include:
- Medicare Managed Care Plans
- Medicare Preferred Provider Organization Plans (PPO)
- Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans
- Medicare Specialty Plans
If you decide to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, then you will use the health care card that you get from your Medicare Advantage Plan (provider) for your health care. These plans often give you more choices and, sometimes, extra benefits, like extra days in the hospital.
To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium of $78.20 in 2005 to Medicare. In addition, you might have to pay a monthly premium to your Medicare Advantage Plan for the extra benefits that they offer.
If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you don’t need a Medigap policy because Medicare Advantage Plans generally cover many of the same benefits that a Medigap policy would cover, like extra days in the hospital after you used the number of days that Medicare pays for.
Help Paying for Health Care Costs
There are wide ranges of health care coverage choices that may help pay for some of your health care costs. These health care choices work with the benefits you have from Medicare. What you choose will affect how much you pay, what benefits you have, which doctors you can see, and other things that may be important to you. For more information about programs that may help pay for some of your health care costs, please read our publication, Health Care Coverage Directory for People with Medicare.