There are many layers to the federal Medicare program. Let us help you figure out where to begin. We'll break down Medicare into manageable pieces, so you know if you qualify for Medicare coverage, what coverage is available in your area, and how to get enrolled in a plan that fits your needs.

What are the different parts to Medicare?

Medicare covers many health care needs for today's seniors and others who qualify. Medicare looks vastly different than it did just a few years ago. Private companies approved by Medicare provide different ways to get your health care and prescription drug coverage. The Medicare plan that you select will affect your out of pocket expenses, benefits, ability to select a doctor, administrative convenience, and quality.

Part A

The part of Medicare that covers hospice care, home health care, skilled nursing facilities, and inpatient hospital stays.

Part B

The part of Medicare that covers physician fees, outpatient hospital care and other medical services not requiring hospitalization.

Medicare Advantage

A plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans are HMOs, PPOs, or Private Fee-for-Service Plans. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan, and are not paid for under the Original Medicare Plan.

Medigap

Medicare supplemental insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill "gaps" in Original Medicare Plan coverage. There are 10 standardized plans labeled Plan A through Plan N. Medigap policies only work in conjunction with the Original Medicare Plan.

Prescription drug coverage

Optional prescription drug coverage which is available to all people who are eligible for Medicare. Plans are offered through insurance companies.