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New to Medicare?

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that offers coverage for:

  • People age 65 and older
  • Certain disabled people under 65
  • Anyone with kidney failure

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services manage the program.

Original Medicare: Part A and Part B

Part A helps pay for hospital services if you’re an inpatient. It also pays for care in a skilled nursing facility or hospice, and some home health care.

Part B helps pay for doctors’ services when you’re an inpatient at a hospital. It also covers:

  • Outpatient care
  • Medical tests
  • Ambulance transport
  • Medical devices
  • Preventive care, including mammography and Pap tests

Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans

Companies such as Blue Shield offer Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans. Only Medicare-approved private companies can run these plans.

Medicare Advantage Plans provide all of the Part A and Part B benefits plus more. Some include vision, hearing, and dental coverage, as well as wellness programs. Most plans include coverage for prescription drugs (Part D).

The amount of money you pay toward some services may differ when you have a Medicare Advantage Plan. And, generally you will need to see doctors who belong to the plan.

Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Plans

Some plans already have Medicare Part D coverage included. If you have a plan that doesn’t, like a Medicare Supplement plan, a Prescription Drug Plan can help. Private companies, including Blue Shield, run these plans to help you cover the costs of your prescription drugs.

You can choose:

  • Stand-alone prescription coverage (Prescription Drug Plan), which works well with a Medicare Supplement plan
  • Medical and prescription coverage combined (like a Medicare Advantage-Prescription Drug Plan)
Hospital
services
Doctor
services
Prescription
coverage
Additional
benefits
Part A and Part B
Original Medicare
A
       
B
       
 
Part C
Medicare
Advantage Plans
C
       
 
Part D
Prescription
Drug Plans
D
       

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