When it comes to choosing the right Medicare coverage, it is important to understand all of your options.

Why Purchase Other Medicare Coverage?

Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare) do not cover all medical expenses. Without additional coverage, you could be left with some out-of-pocket expenses.

For example, Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover:

  • Hearing aids
  • Routine vision care
  • Routine dental care
  • Long-term care
  • Custodial care

Medicare Coverage Options

Other Medicare coverage is available through private insurance companies:

  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offer all Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, plus additional services, such as wellness programs, hearing aids and vision services, generally with lower cost sharing and an annual out-of-pocket maximum.
  • Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) covers prescription drugs costs.
  • Medigap (Medicare Supplement) fills in specific cost-sharing gaps for Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare). This option is for those with Original Medicare. Individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage do not need to purchase a Medigap plan.
  • Medicare Cost Plans provide another alternative to Original Medicare. They cover the Parts A and B services and often include additional benefits. These plans are only available in certain geographic areas.

Your Options at a Glance

Option 1

Enroll in Original Medicare when you become eligible.
 

Visual of Part A and Part B coverage

 

Option 2

Enroll in Original Medicare when you become eligible, and consider selecting a Part D and/or a Medigap plan.

Visual of Original Coverage plus Medicare Part D

Consider purchasing a Part D plan for help covering your prescription drug costs.

Visual of Medicare Supplement (Medigap)

Consider purchasing a Medigap plan for help filling in specific cost-sharing gaps for Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare).

Option 3

Enroll in Original Medicare when you become eligible, and consider selecting a Medicare Advantage plan.

Visual depicting Medicare Advantage Part C which shows Original Medicare Parts A and B plus Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) plus Additional benefits

Consider purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan for coverage that offers all Medicare Part A and Part B benefits while generally including some additional services, such as wellness programs, hearing aids and vision services. Also, most plans (such as PPO and HMO plans) include prescription drug coverage.

Important Considerations

Everyone’s health needs, finances and lifestyles are not the same. You should consider these factors carefully when evaluating the different options available for Medicare coverage.

Freedom to Travel Do you want the freedom to travel domestically and take your benefits with you? A Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plan, Medicare Cost Plan or a Medicare Advantage PPO may be right for you. Keep in mind that all Medicare Advantage plans will cover urgent and emergency services anywhere in the country.
One Plan Do you want the convenience of medical and drug coverage under one plan? Consider a Medicare Cost Plan or Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
Minimal Coverage Do you want minimal medical coverage and prescription drug benefits? Part A and Part B combined with a stand-alone Part D plan may meet your needs. However, you will be responsible for all Part A and B deductibles and cost sharing amounts.
Hearing and Vision Benefits Do you need hearing and vision benefits? A Medicare Advantage or Medicare Cost Plan may provide the level of benefits you need.

For help evaluating these and other relevant factors, contact your local Blue Cross Blue Shield company for assistance with choosing the Medicare option available in your area that will best meet your needs and finances.

Medicare overview information on this website was developed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to help consumers understand certain aspects about Medicare. Viewing this Medicare overview does not require you to enroll in any Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. To find out about premiums and terms for these and other insurance options, how to apply for coverage, and for much more information, contact your local Blue Cross Blue Shield company. Each Blue Cross Blue Shield company is responsible for the information that it provides. For more information about Medicare including a complete listing of plans available in your service area, please contact the Medicare program at 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048) or visit www.medicare.gov.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.