Medicare is a health insurance program run by the federal government. It provides coverage for people who are:
Medicare is made up of parts that handle different types of coverage:
There is also a product that isn’t a part of Medicare that provides additional coverage, called Medicare Supplement or Medigap. Medicare Supplement plans are a supplement to Medicare and are available through private insurance companies such as Aetna, Humana, AARP and UnitedHealthCare.
Medicare is different than Medicaid. If you are interested in Medicaid, please visit medicaid.gov (external site)
To be considered eligible for Medicare:
Parts A and B (also known as Original Medicare) are run by the federal government. With these parts, the government pays the doctors and hospitals you visit directly for your health care.
Part A pays most hospital costs for stays that last up to 60 days annually. After 60 days, you pay a daily copayment for each additional day. If you’re hospitalized for more than 90 days, you may have to pay for all of your care.
Part B doesn’t limit how many covered medical services you can get, as long as the services are medically necessary to treat a medical illness or condition. Some services, such as preventive care and screenings, may be limited.
With Medicare Advantage plans, the government pays a set fee to your plan for your health care and then your plan pays the doctors and hospitals.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may also include coverage for other services, including fitness programs or hearing and vision care.
Parts A and B (also known as Original Medicare) pay for many, but not all, health care services and supplies. That’s where Medicare Supplement plans come in: they help pay for those things Parts A and B don’t cover, such as Medicare deductibles, which are the amounts you owe for health care services before your insurance plan begins to pay.
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are run by private insurance companies. These plans are state-regulated and not offered by the Federal Government.
Some Medicare Supplement Insurance plans provide additional coverage for services when travelling outside the United States.
Part D Prescription Drug plans help pay for prescription drugs, as well as brand name and generic medications.
Part D Prescription Drug plans have:
If you’re considering prescription drug coverage, sign up as soon as you’re eligible — otherwise, you may have to pay a penalty fee for late enrollment.
Your three options for purchasing additional Medicare coverage are shown below.
Please keep in mind that you’ll want to compare the monthly premium cost as well as the cost to use the plan. For example, if you visit your primary care doctor frequently, a plan that costs you $0 a month in premiums and requires you to pay $35 every time that you visit your doctor may end up costing you more out of pocket than a plan that costs $39 a month in premiums but only requires you to pay $15 per visit.
Please remember that the Medicare Advantage Plan can only be purchased as a single plan, which includes drug coverage options. Only Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan can be purchased together as a combination.
Medicare Supplement Disclaimer: Veterans Advantage Insurance Group℠ (VAIG) nor its agents are endorsed by or affiliated with the United States Government or the federal Medicare program.