Medicare Coverage Choices
You can get coverage through Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. No matter which way you decide to go, you first need to enroll in Original Medicare.
Once you’re enrolled, you have other decisions to make. This two-step chart can help you decide which path you might want to take.
Enroll in Original Medicare when you become eligible
Covers hospital stays
Covers doctor and
If you want additional coverage, you have choices
Keep Original Medicare and add
Medicare Supplement Insurance
Helps with some of the out–of–pocket
expenses not paid by
Medicare Parts A & B
Enroll in Medicare Advantage plan
Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Combines Parts A & B and
may cover prescription drugs
Medicare Part D
your doctor prescribes
Medicare supplement plans only work with Original Medicare. If a private insurer knows that you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, the insurer can't sell you Medicare supplement insurance unless you are switching to Original Medicare.
How Medicare parts and plans work together
As the chart shows, you can combine different Medicare parts and plans to meet your specific needs. Your choices depend on which path you take—Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.
Some people who choose Original Medicare add prescription drug coverage (Part D) and Medicare supplement insurance, but it’s not required. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage plus additional benefits like vision, dental and hearing coverage—all in one plan.
If you have a Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) A type of Medicare Advantage plan that allows you to visit any Medicare-eligible doctor, hospital or other health care service provider who is willing to accept the plan’s payment terms and conditions. that does not include prescription drug coverage, you can buy a standalone Part D prescription drug plan. This is the only type of Medicare Advantage plan that allows you to do this.
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