Original Medicare
Medicare Advantage (MA)
What it covers
Original Medicare helps cover hospital and doctor visits.
MA plans bundle Part A and Part B benefits, and some include prescription drug coverage. Many MA plans also include routine dental, vision and hearing care—benefits not offered by Original Medicare.
Maximum out-of-pocket cost guarantee
There is no maximum out-of-pocket cost guarantee with Original Medicare.
MA plans have a yearly limit on out-of-pocket costs for medical services, after which members pay nothing for covered services for the rest of the plan year.
Doctors and hospitals
If you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can go to any doctor or hospital in the U.S. that accepts Medicare.
MA plans generally require you to use doctors and facilities in the plan's network. If you see an out-of-network provider, your costs may be higher.
Monthly premiums
You usually don't pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A (hospital) coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for a certain amount of time while working. You do need to pay a premium for Part B coverage. In 2024, the Medicare Part B premium is $174.70 or higher, depending on your income.
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer an affordable or $0 monthly plan premium. As with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage members must continue to pay a monthly Part B premium ($174.70 in 2024), along with any MA plan premium.
Deductibles and coinsurance
The 2024 Part A deductible for inpatient hospital coverage is $1,632. The 2024 annual deductible for Part B medical coverage is $240.
Deductibles and copays vary depending on the Medicare Advantage plan.
Prescription drug coverage
Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage. You may choose to purchase a stand-alone prescription drug plan from a private company.
Most Medicare Advantage plans include coverage for prescription drugs, although there are also MA plans that cover medical services only.
Can I change my plan if I don’t like it?
Yes. You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa, each year during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which runs from Oct. 15–Dec. 7. Also known as the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan "annual election period" or "annual enrollment period this is the primary time when people with Medicare can choose a plan. However, there are other times during the year that may be called “open enrollment” or “special enrollment” periods when a person can enroll in a plan
Yes. You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa, each year during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which runs from Oct. 15–Dec. 7. Also known as the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan "annual election period" or "annual enrollment period this is the primary time when people with Medicare can choose a plan. However, there are other times during the year that may be called “open enrollment” or “special enrollment” periods when a person can enroll in a plan