Updated: Aug 29, 2021
The Medicare program was created on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B Johnson. Medicare was never intended to cover all of an individual’s hospital and medical costs. Basic Medicare covers about 80% of the hospital and medical expenses for Medicare beneficiaries. A Medicare beneficiary is an individual who is entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A and enrolled under Medicare Part B or enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B and who resides in the United States.
In the past, Medicare beneficiaries have primarily purchased Medigap or Medicare Supplement plans to cover the “gap” that Medicare does not cover. In addition to Medicare supplement coverage a Medicare beneficiary can pick up a prescription drug plan (or Part D). This will cover most prescriptions that Medicare does not cover.
Many individuals are now opting to purchase Medicare Advantage plans from private insurers. In this instance, the Medicare Advantage plan becomes their Medicare. By law, Medicare Advantage plans must cover what Medicare A & B covers. A Medicare Advantage plan is NOT a Medicare supplement.
Most Medicare Advantage plans also offer many other benefits not afforded by Medigap plans, such as coverage for prescriptions, dental, vision, and other supplemental benefits such as coverage for Over-the-Counter medications, etc.