Medicare 101

Medicare 101

Jun 11, 2024

Medicare Decisions

Hey there, future Medicare superstar! 🎉

Congratulations on hitting the golden milestone of turning 65! You're about to embark on a journey through the world of Medicare—a world that can seem as confusing as a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. But fear not, because I'm here to simplify it all for you. Think of me as your Medicare GPS, guiding you step-by-step to the perfect coverage. Ready? Let's dive in!

The Big Picture: Medicare 101

Medicare is like a club for people 65 and older, offering health insurance that covers a variety of medical needs. There are four parts to Medicare, and each has its own unique benefits. Here’s a quick rundown:

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance): Covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance): Covers doctor visits, outpatient care, preventive services, and medical supplies.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage): An all-in-one alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) offered by private companies. Includes everything in Part A and Part B, and usually Part D (prescription drug coverage), plus extra benefits like dental, vision, and wellness programs.

Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage): Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Available as a standalone plan or included in Medicare Advantage.

Option 1: Original Medicare (Parts A & B)

The Basics: Original Medicare is the traditional program run by the federal government. It gives you the freedom to visit any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare.

What's Covered:

Part A: Most people get this premium-free if they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years.
Part B: Monthly premium (varies based on income).


Broad choice of healthcare providers.
No need for referrals to see specialists.


No cap on out-of-pocket expenses.
Doesn’t cover everything (like vision, dental, or long-term care).
Option 2: Medicare Advantage (Part C)

The Basics: Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. They bundle Parts A, B, and usually D, plus extra perks.

What's Covered:

All benefits of Original Medicare.
Often includes prescription drug coverage.
May include extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing, and fitness programs.


Additional benefits.
Usually lower out-of-pocket costs.
All-in-one convenience.


Limited network of providers.
May require referrals to see specialists.
Option 3: Medicare Supplement (Medigap)

The Basics: Medigap policies are sold by private companies to fill the “gaps” in Original Medicare coverage, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

What's Covered:

Various plans (A-N) with different levels of coverage.
Helps pay out-of-pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare.


Lower out-of-pocket costs.
Flexibility to see any doctor that accepts Medicare.


Additional monthly premium.
Does not include prescription drug coverage (you'll need a separate Part D plan).
Option 4: Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plans)

The Basics: These plans help cover the cost of prescription medications. You can add Part D to Original Medicare or choose a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage.

What's Covered:

Various plans with different formularies (list of covered drugs).


Reduces the cost of medications.
Protects against high drug costs.


Monthly premium.
May have a deductible and copayments.

Key Takeaways

Evaluate Your Needs: Think about your health, budget, and preferences. Do you prefer the flexibility of choosing any doctor, or are you okay with a network in exchange for extra benefits?

Consider the Costs: Look at premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and coverage. Sometimes paying a bit more upfront saves you big bucks down the road.
Check for Extra Help: If your income is limited, you might qualify for programs that help pay Medicare costs.

Your Next Steps

Step 1: Research. Dig deeper into each option. Compare plans and prices. Visit for detailed information or take a short cut and set up an appointment by calling 763.783.4447

Step 2: Enroll. Sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)—the 7-month window around your 65th birthday (3 months before, the month of, and 3 months after).

Step 3: Consult an Expert. Talk to a Medicare advisor (like yours truly!) to get personalized advice and ensure you're making the best choice for your health and wallet.

Turning 65 is a big deal, and so is choosing the right Medicare plan. But with the right information and a little guidance, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your golden years with peace of mind and great health coverage.

Here’s to smart choices and a healthy future! 🥂

Need Help?

If you have questions or need help navigating your options, don't hesitate to reach out. As a seasoned Medicare advisor, I'm here to make your transition smooth and worry-free. Let's chat and find the perfect plan for you!

👉 763.783.4447

Stay savvy, stay covered, and stay healthy!

Remember, you don’t have to navigate this alone. Whether you need a nudge in the right direction or a full walkthrough, I’m here to help you every step of the way.