When it comes to Medicare, you have options
And that’s a good thing! For many people approaching their 65th birthday, the big question is whether they should choose Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. You’ll find plenty of information on this site about the benefits of each.
Here’s a quick snapshot of some common options people choose for their coverage. Helpful links are provided for each:
You can choose to enroll in Original Medicare Part A and Part B (hospital and medical coverage). For most people, Medicare Part A is premium-free, but everyone pays a monthly premium for Part B. In 2019, the standard Part B premium is $135.50.
- You can add a stand-alone prescription drug plan to Original Medicare, and pay a separate premium for that plan
- If you choose Original Medicare but you’re concerned about the out-of-pocket costs for copays and the deductible, you can add a Medicare Supplement plan as well to help cover some of those cash costs
- You can also add optional supplemental benefit plans for dental, vision and hearing care—for a monthly premium
More and more people these days are opting for Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurers, since they provide all the rights and benefits of Original Medicare and often include coverage for prescription drugs, plus dental, vision and hearing care.
- Many Medicare Advantage plans have monthly premiums as low as $0
- If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to continue to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium ($135.50 in 2019) in addition to the Medicare Advantage plan premium.
- Medicare Supplement plans can’t be combined with Medicare Advantage plans, but all Medicare Advantage plans offer annual maximum out-of-pocket limits, after which you’ll pay nothing for covered services.
Healthcare coverage from other sources
- If you’re currently receiving veterans’ benefits, you may still want to sign up for Medicare
- Veterans’ benefits only cover care at VA facilities, but you can use your Medicare benefits outside the VA system, which may be closer to home
- If you’re retired and enrolled in a group Medicare plan, take some time to , opens new window.
To help you make sense of it all, , opens new window offers a helpful booklet that offers a comprehensive look at Medicare and things you may want to consider as you make your choices.