Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage?


Original Medicare is good, but it doesn’t cover prescription drug costs and other benefits that come with a Medicare Advantage plan – also known as a Part C plan.

Comparing Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage

Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B, which cover basic hospital and medical coverage. Medicare Advantage (Part C) comes with Parts A and B, plus additional coverage not found in Original Medicare for benefits like prescription drug coverage (Part D). Think of Medicare Advantage as an all-in-one health plan.

Medicare Part A helps cover:


 Hospital stays (semi-private rooms) up to 60 days

 Hospital meals

 Nursing services

 Intensive care services

 Drugs, medical supplies and equipment used on the premises

 Lab tests and X-rays taken while hospitalized

 Surgery and recovery costs

 Rehabilitation and therapy services

 Part-time home nursing care

Medicare Part B helps cover:


 Doctor visits

 Vaccinations and flu shots

 Health screenings and medical tests

 Medical supplies

 Ambulance services

 Smoking cessation and other preventive healthcare programs

Medicare Part C includes:


 Everything Medicare Part A and Part B cover

 Coverage for dental, hearing, vision, and prescription drugs

 Extra programs to improve your overall health and well-being

What are additional benefits of Medicare Advantage?

In addition to everything included with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits such as:

Prescription drug coverage


Many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug (Part D) coverage. These plans are known as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans.

Dental care


Many Medicare Advantage plans offer dental coverage for things like routine checkups and exams, cleanings, and dentures. They also cover unplanned dental procedures like root canals and crowns.

Vision care


Eye health becomes more important as we age. Eye exams, glasses, and contacts are a part of many Medicare Advantage plans.

Hearing care


Original Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids, which can be expensive. Many Medicare Advantage plans provide hearing coverage that includes testing and medically required hearing aids.

Wellness and fitness


Medicare Advantage plans also help you live a healthy lifestyle. Many plans include access to gym memberships, senior fitness programs like SilverSneakers®, and coaching to improve your well-being.

What about the difference in costs?

Original Medicare costs

  • Part A premiums are most likely free if you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes
  • Part B includes a premium and deductible
  • Both of your Part B costs are based on your lifetime earnings, so low-income beneficiaries may pay less for Part B

Medicare Advantage costs

  • Many plans have $0 premiums (you’ll still pay your Part B premium)
  • The costs vary depending on where you live
  • On average, your monthly premiums are usually lower than what you may pay for Original Medicare

Why should I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan?

Having a Medicare Advantage plan with rich benefits can help you stay healthier as you age. And with added value, it can help you save on overall medical costs. A Wellpoint Medicare Advantage plan provides flexibility and lets you tailor your coverage to your needs.

Wellpoint and Carelon Health plans are Medicare Advantage plans with Medicare contracts. Wellpoint and Carelon Health plans are SNP plans with a Medicare contract and a contract with the state Medicaid program. Enrollment in Wellpoint or Carelon Health depends on contract renewal.