| Wed, Oct 20, 2010 @ 09:00 AM

The Two Ways to Get Medicare

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Original MedicareThere are two different ways you can get Medicare coverage: Original Medicare (usually referred to as Medicare Part A and Part B) and Medicare Advantage (usually referred to as Medicare Part C). They cover the same basics services, but they work differently.  Your choice depends on what you need.  If you choose Medicare Advantage, you’ll need to pick a specific plan from a particular company.  If you choose Original Medicare, you’ll have more choices.  For example, you’ll need to choose from several companies if you decide to buy a stand-alone drug plan or a Medigap policy.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare is made up of two parts, Medicare Parts A and B. Both plans are federally administered health insurance plans.

Medicare Part A is of no cost to the beneficiary if the beneficiary or their spouse have made contributions to Social Security for at least 10 years. It provides coverage for care that involves an inpatient stay in the hospital including:

  • Up to 60 days of inpatient hospital care in a semi-private room at no cost after meeting the deductible
  • Hospital meals
  • Skilled nursing services
  • Prescription drugs and medical supplies during a hospital stay
  • Laboratory testing
  • Operating and recovery room services
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Skilled care in a nursing facility
  • Part-time in home nursing care for the homebound

Medicare Part B requires a monthly premium payment, which may be deducted from the beneficiary’s monthly Social Security benefits. Part B provides coverage for outpatient care including:

  • Doctor’s office visits
  • Ambulatory surgery center services
  • Out-patient medical services
  • Some preventative care (such as flu shots)
  • Some clinical laboratory services
  • Some diagnostic screenings
  • Emergency room services
  • Medical equipment including wheel chairs, oxygen, etc.
  • Outpatient mental healthcare
  • Part-time in home skilled nursing care for the homebound
  • Some prescription drugs including chemotherapy

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans are also known as Medicare Part C. Part C is provided by private insurance companies and provide you with a single plan that combines hospital costs, doctor’s visits, and other medical services.  You can choose a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage, often at no additional cost.

Additional Resources




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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