The main difference is Original Medicare is administered by the federal government and Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private companies. Here’s a deeper look into what makes them unique.
What is Original Medicare?
Medicare is our country’s federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, as well as some younger people with disabilities, or any age with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). There are 2 parts:1
Medicare Part A—generally helps cover inpatient hospital care, nursing facility care, nursing home care, hospice care and home healthcare Medicare Part B—covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services
There are some things Original Medicare won’t cover, including
What is Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage is an alternative to traditional Medicare offered by private health insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans cover all the same services under Original Medicare Part A and Part B, but often include prescription drug coverage and extra benefits. Some benefits may provide coverage for:2
- Routine dental care (dental exams, X-rays, teeth cleanings)
- Routine vision care (eye exams, eyeglasses and contacts)
- Routine hearing care (hearing tests, hearing aids)
- Fitness programs and gym memberships
- Transportation to doctor visits
- Over-the-counter drugs
Medicare Advantage plans can also include prescription drug coverage. To get the same coverage with Original Medicare, you’d have to buy a separate prescription drug plan and pay a separate premium.
Let’s compare Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage side-by-side to help you better understand each one’s advantages.