Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage

Picking the Right Option For You

There are typically 2 main ways of getting Medicare coverage—Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Here are some important reminders.

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B)

  • Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance).
  • If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a separate Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan.
  • Can use any doctor or hospital that takes Medicare, anywhere in the U.S.

Medicare Advantage (also known as Part C) insurance plans

  • Medicare Advantage is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These “bundled” plans include Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, and usually Medicare Part D.
  • Plans may have lower costs than Original Medicare.
  • In most cases, you’ll need to use doctors who are in the plan’s network.
  • Each year, Medicare Advantage plans can choose to leave Medicare or make changes to the services they cover and what you pay. If the plan decides to stop participating in Medicare, you’ll have to join another Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare.

Side by Side Analysis

For an easy comparison of Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, review the following table:

*Click image to enlarge