What is Medicare?

What is Medicare, and how does it work? What does it cover?
The answer is complex, but you've come to the right place for Medicare information.

Medicare is a national United States health insurance program for people 65 and older. It is also for people with certain disabilities or end-stage kidney failure. This program is divided into various parts, and it's important to learn how these fit together.


Parts of Medicare

Part A: Hospital Insurance
Part A covers inpatient care, a skilled nursing facility, hospice and some home healthcare. You will have out-of-pocket costs for your hospital stay, such as deductibles and coinsurance.

Part B: Medical Insurance
Part B helps with the cost of doctor visits, outpatient services and some preventive services. With Part B, there are additional costs, such as a monthly premium, annual deductible and coinsurance you have to pay. Part A and Part B together are called Original Medicare.

Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. To receive drug coverage, you have to purchase a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) to add to your Original Medicare or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with Part D prescription drug coverage (MAPD).

Part C: Medicare Advantage
By joining a Medicare Advantage plan, you get Part A and Part B (and usually Part D) coverage to support your total health in one plan. Many of these plans offer extras not found in Original Medicare, such as dental, vision, hearing and gym membership. Medicare Advantage plans have predictable costs with set co-pays and out-of-pocket cost limits.

Please contact our Medicare Specialist, Tracy Mancini, for more information.

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.

What is Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

Medicare Supplements also known as Medigap came into being shortly after Medicare was signed into law. Because you are required to pay for some things, like 20% of outpatient expenses, supplemental policies were created to pay those expenses for you. This allows people to feel less worry over how much each medical visit will end up costing them.

Some of the primary advantages of a Medicare Supplement policy are:

  • Freedom to choose your own doctors and hospitals
  • No referrals required to see a specialist.
  • Predictable out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare-covered services  
  • Nationwide coverage – you can use it anywhere in the United States
  • Guaranteed renewability – the insurance company can never drop you or change your coverage due to a health condition.

Some other things to know about Medicare Supplement insurance:

  • You must have Part A and Part B to buy a Medigap policy.
  • Medicare Supplement plans cover only one person. Your spouse must have his or her own individual policy.
  • The Annual Election Period in the fall is for drug plans. It does not apply to Medicare supplements in any way.
  • Many carriers offer household discounts if two or more people enroll in Medicare supplemental plans from the same company.
  • Plans do not include Part D, so you'll add a separate standalone Part D drug plan.