Medicare Basics | Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Medicare Basics

Most Americans join Medicare when they turn 65, but it’s also available to younger people with certain disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a transplant).

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a national health insurance program administered by the federal government. It is not part of the Health Insurance Marketplace. Medicare is made up of four parts. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) are considered Original Medicare. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) are plans offered by insurance companies and private companies that contract with Medicare.

Original Medicare

Offered by the Federal Government

Hospital Insurance

Part A helps pays for:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care after a hospital stay
  • Some home healthcare and hospice services

Medical Insurance

Part B helps pay for:

  • Doctor office visits and services
  • Most outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Many preventive services

More Medicare Coverage

Additional Medicare Coverage Offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

You can choose to enroll in:

Medicare Advantage

Combines what’s covered by Part A and Part B and adds benefits, often including prescription drug coverage (Part D)

Part C always covers you for all benefits included in Parts A and B.

May include coverage for:
  • Dental, hearing and/or vision services
  • Health, wellness, and fitness programs
Many Part C plans include:
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Provider networks to help manage costs

If you enroll in a Blue Cross Medicare AdvantageSM plan, you cannot also enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan*.

Or, you can choose to enroll in:

Prescription Drug

Helps cover costs of prescription drugs with copays or coinsurance

Or, you can choose to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan on its own or paired with a Part D plan:

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Helps with costs that Medicare Parts A and B do not cover

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans help to pay for:
  • Coinsurance
  • Copayments
  • Deductibles

Help Me Choose a Plan

Not sure what you need? Answer a few questions to help you decide. Get started

Now that you’ve picked a plan, it’s time to enroll.

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