| Mon, Oct 04, 2010 @ 09:00 AM

Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage: Understanding the Difference

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Dr-and-Patient-resized-600Medicare is federally administered health insurance providing health coverage to Americans above the age of 65 and other individuals who are eligible due to certain illnesses, disabilities or income level.

Medicare became law 45 years ago when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965. Today, Medicare has grown into a program 43 million Americans depend on for their medical insurance.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare consists of two parts, Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medicare Part A provides coverage for hospital stays, inpatient procedures and some follow-up care in skilled nursing facilities. Medicare Part A is of no cost to the beneficiary as long as you or your spouse have made payroll contributions to Social Security for at least 10 years. Medicare Part B provides coverage for out-patient care including doctor’s office visits.  Those who choose to take advantage of Medicare Part B will pay a premium. The premium is based on the yearly income of the beneficiary and is often deducted from their monthly Social Security benefits.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage is also known as Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage is provided by private insurance companies and is designed to help cover medical costs that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover. Some Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage at little or no additional cost.

Because Medicare Advantage is provided by private insurers, these plans can vary in price and coverage. It’s a good idea to research your options to make sure you get the best plan and price for your needs.

In order to enroll in Medicare Advantage you must first enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. You can only enroll in Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans during specific enrollment periods. To view plans and pricing or learn more about how to enroll, visit www.aarpmedicareplans.com.

Additional Resources

http://www.medicare.gov/choices/advantage.asp

http://www.aarphealthcare.com/products/medicareadvantage/

http://affordablemedicareplan.com/

The family of UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Solutions plans are insured or covered by an affiliate of UnitedHealthcare, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and Medicare-approved Part D Sponsor.

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