First, everyone who joins the Medicare program enrolls in Original Medicare. This is health insurance provided by the federal government.
Second, there are other Medicare coverage options offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. It’s important to understand what these are and how they work.
When you join Medicare, you may enroll in Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B or both. The decision about which parts of Medicare to enroll in is usually based on whether you have other health insurance in addition to Medicare, such as an employer plan. Learn more about enrolling in Medicare.
But even if you enroll in Part A and Part B, Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything. So it’s a good idea to learn about other Medicare plans and about Medicare supplement insurance. These can help provide coverage that Original Medicare doesn’t.
You have additional Medicare coverage options when you are enrolled in both Part A and Part B. These include Medicare and Medicare-related plans offered through private insurance companies.
If you have both Part A and Part B, you may choose to do one of the following:
- Add prescription drug coverage (Part D), Medicare supplement insurance or both to Original Medicare.
- Receive your Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. Most plans include drug coverage and additional benefits not offered by Original Medicare.
There’s no right or wrong choices here. You need to make your own choices based on your health care needs and your budget. And your choices don’t have to be forever. You have the opportunity to change your Medicare coverage choices each year during Medicare Open Enrollment or during a Special Enrollment Period if you qualify for one.
Medicare and the Part B Premium
No matter what you choose for your Medicare coverage, you always remain a Medicare beneficiary. You continue to be part of the Medicare program, and pay the Part B premium to Medicare, even if you receive some or all of your benefits through a private Medicare or Medicare-related plan.