Decision: What's the Right Coverage for You?

WebMD Medical Reference

This information will help you decide what Medicare coverage suits your health care needs best.

Key Points in Making Your Decision

There are many choices for health coverage in the Medicare system. You are eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital care) and Part B (doctor visits) when you turn 65. But you can opt out of Part B if you don't want to keep it. Consider the following when making your decision:

  • If you are covered by other health insurance now (from your employer or a spouse's), there is no penalty if you defer Part B (doctor visits) until you or your spouse retires.
  • If you are not covered by other insurance, and you do not keep Part B, you will pay more if you enroll later on.
  • If you do keep Part B, you can buy extra insurance to cover health care costs that the traditional Medicare plan does not cover. Or you can choose a Medicare Advantage (formerly called Medicare + Choice) plan.

Information to Consider

Your choices for Medicare coverage are:

  • Keep your employer's health plan if you are still working, or
  • Get Part A to cover only hospital costs, or.
  • Enroll in the original Medicare plan (Parts A and B, covering hospital and doctor visits), or
  • Enroll in Medicare Advantage, which are privately run health plans sponsored by Medicare.

Medicare Part D will pay for prescription drugs in 2006. Until then, you may want to consider extra coverage to pay for prescription drugs and services not covered by Medicare. You can buy: