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Medicare Only

This term refers to people who carry Original Medicare only (Medicare Part A and Part B), but no other form of Medicare health insurance. As Original Medicare covers approximately 80% of an individual’s expected healthcare expenses, these people choose to “self-insure” for the re­maining 20%.

Medicare Supplement (a.k.a. Medigap)

This refers to individuals who have Original Medi­care (Part A and Part B), and who also purchase a Medicare Supplement to help insure the ap­proximate 20% of healthcare expenses that are not covered by Original Medicare. Medicare Supplements provide coverage that is secondary to Medicare; meaning Medicare pays first and the Medicare Supplement pays second. Learn more here:

Medicare Advantage Plan (a.k.a. Part C)

A Medicare Advantage plan incorporates your Part A, Part B, and often Part D Prescription Drug coverage into one convenient plan offered by Medicare-approved private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare. These plans must, at minimum, provide the same level of coverage as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), and may include an additional monthly plan premium. Medicare Advantage plans often include additional benefits not offered by Original Medicare. Learn more here:

Company-Sponsored Medicare Plan

This broad category refers to people who receive some form of Medicare insurance from a current or former employer (or their spouse’s employer). This category includes corporate Medicare plans, union member plans, military plans (TRICARE for Life) and Medicare plans offered to federal, state and municipal retirees. This type of insurance may be a plan that works secondary to Medicare or it may function as a Medicare Advantage plan. Oftentimes, employer-sponsored Medicare plans feature premiums that are considerably more expensive than comparable Medicare plans that are available to the general Medicare popula­tion. If you are considering cancelling an employ­er-sponsored Medicare plan and joining a regular Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan, be sure to carefully consider your options, as employers often will not allow retirees to return to the plan after cancelling coverage.


These are individuals who qualify for both Original Medicare and Medicaid benefits simultaneously. Often referred to as being “dual-eligible”, Medi­care/Medicaid beneficiaries meet state-specific income requirements for Medicaid eligibility, in addition to being qualified for Original Medicare. In basic terms, these individuals have Medicare as their primary insurance and Medicaid as second­ary insurance.

Don’t Forget!

You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B to be eligible for a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan.

Consider your Options:

For more on Factors to Consider before comparing your options, learn more about what you should keep in mind here: