You can’t enroll in both original Medicare and Medicare Advantage at the same time. But you won’t be stuck with your initial decision forever. From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year, you can make a switch and also change your Part D insurance.
Original Medicare, also known as traditional Medicare, works on a fee-for-service basis. This means 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 service it covers.
You pay the rest unless you have additional insurance that covers those costs, such as a Medigap plan or your state’s Medicaid program. Original Medicare covers many health care services and supplies, but it doesn’t pay all of your expenses.
The Medicare Advantage program, Part C, gives people an alternative way of receiving their Medicare benefits. The program consists of many different health plans — typically health maintenance organizations (HMO) and preferred provider organizations (PPO) — that Medicare regulates but private insurance companies run.
The number of plans varies by where you live. Plans may charge monthly premiums in addition to the Part B premium, although some plans in some areas are available without additional cost.