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What is Medicare?

Confused about Medicare? Let us help you learn about your plan options and what best fits your needs.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B. They are provided through the federal government. Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage (Part D), plus there is no limit on what you will pay out-of-pocket each year.

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Part A

Hospital Insurance

Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care and home health care.

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Part B

Medical Insurance

Helps cover services from doctors and other healthcare providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment and many preventive services.

Enrolling in Part A and Part B

When you enroll in Part A and Part B, you will be responsible for paying the respective premiums. For most people, the premium for Medicare Part A is $0 each month.

Your Medicare Part B premium depends on your income, and can change each year. It is usually deducted from your monthly Social Security check. Regardless of what Medicare coverage you have, you will always need to pay your Part B premium.


Additional Parts of Medicare

Medicare Part C is an all-in-one plan that includes Part A, Part B and usually Part D. Part C and Part D are offered by private insurance companies with Medicare approval.

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Part C

Medicare Advantage

Combines Part A and Part B, plus includes extra benefits like dental, vision and hearing. May also include Part D prescription drug coverage.

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Part D

Prescription Drugs

Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs, including many recommended shots or vaccines. To get this coverage, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage or purchase a standalone Part D plan.

Enrolling in Part C and Part D

Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you'll have the opportunity to enroll in additional coverage options that provide added benefits or cost savings, such as Part C and Part D.

Blue Cross offers Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans that include prescription drug coverage.

Learn More

Eligibility and Enrollment

Find out how to sign up for Original Medicare or additional coverage.

Learn More About Eligibility

What Does Original Medicare Cover?

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) is provided through the federal government and covers some expenses for your hospital and medical care. But it doesn’t cover everything you may need to be healthy. Original Medicare covers only about 80% of your costs—you are responsible for paying the remaining 20%. And there is NO LIMIT to what you may have to pay for these out-of-pocket expenses. 

100 percent icon Coverage

  • Preventive services like flu shots and cancer screenings
80 percent icon Coverage
  • Doctor visits
  • Medical services
  • Outpatient care
  • Hospice
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Inpatient hospital stays

0 percent icon Original Medicare DOESN'T cover

  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Other extra benefits you may need

Things to Consider When Choosing a Plan

Do you prefer having predictable monthly expenses?
Do you want additional benefits?
Do you want the freedom to see any doctor who accepts Medicare?
Do you want prescription drug coverage?
Do you want low or no copays?
Do you want to spend less on Medicare with in-network providers?

Key terms you should know 

The amount you pay for your healthcare coverage

How much you will pay before your plan begins to pay for its share of the cost 

How much you will pay each time you go to the doctor, specialist, hospital or other medical provider

The percentage of the total cost (example: 20%) you’ll pay for your care after you meet your deductible 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

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