There are several differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare is the federal program that provides Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). You may be able to visit any doctor who accepts Medicare, but you’re responsible for coinsurance, deductibles, and monthly premiums. There are no out-of-pocket limits with Original Medicare, so if you require medical care, your costs could add up. If you have Original Medicare and want prescription drug coverage, you have to enroll in a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are a “one-stop-shop” alternative to Original Medicare. MA plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide your Part A and Part B benefits. Most MA plans also include additional benefits, including prescription drug coverage, vision and dental care, fitness programs, or more – sometimes for little to no additional cost. MA plans have an annual maximum out-of-pocket limit which could protect you from sky-rocketing medical expenses. Costs and benefits can vary among MA plans.