En español | Original Medicare, also known as traditional Medicare, works on a fee-for-service basis. This means that you can go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, anywhere in the United States, and Medicare will pay its share of the bill for any Medicare-covered service it covers. You pay the rest, unless you have additional insurance that covers those costs. Original Medicare provides many health care services and supplies, but it doesn’t pay all your expenses.
When you first sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B, Social Security automatically enrolls you in original Medicare. If you prefer to receive your care from a private Medicare Advantage plan, such as an HMO or PPO, instead of the original program, you must actively enroll in a plan that’s offered in your area. If you prefer to stay in original Medicare, you can get prescription drug coverage by joining a private Part D drug plan for an additional premium; and you can also choose to buy private supplemental insurance (known as Medigap) to cover some of your out-of-pocket costs in the original program.