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How is Medicare Different?

Medicare is a little different than health care insurance plans that you’ve had before.

When you’re under 65, plans likely include medical and prescription drug coverage. Plans through your work may have had dental and vision coverage.

Medicare’s basic coverage includes hospital and medical benefits from Medicare Parts A and B. But Medicare doesn’t cover everything. To fill in the gaps that Medicare doesn’t cover, there are Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans. These plans cover roughly 20% of the costs that Medicare doesn’t.

Learn more about Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans.

If you need coverage for your medications, there are prescription drug plans. These plans only cover prescription drugs. They are often used along with Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans. They are not part of Medicare, and you pay for them separately.

Learn more about Prescription Drug Plans.

If you want coverage that’s like what you’ve had before, there are Medicare Advantage plans. These plans cover the medical and hospital benefits of Medicare Parts A and B, plus prescription drug coverage, and may offer dental and vision care. All the benefits come from one plan, so you don’t need to manage multiple plans.

Learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans.

First, you’ll receive a letter acknowledging your enrollment. Medicare must approve enrollment before you are officially a member. Ten days after you’re approved by Medicare, you’ll receive a confirmation letter that includes your ID card. At this point, you can use your benefits. Be sure to show your health care providers your new ID card.

Shortly after you receive the letter, you’ll get a welcome kit that includes the evidence of coverage and formulary. Review these items to understand your benefits and keep them handy in case you need to look them over.

Last Updated: Aug. 02, 2023