Parts A and B
Medicare is the Federal health insurance program available to those over 65 or on permanent disability. It was created in July, 1965, when President Johnson authorized the bill that would lead to Medicare and Medicaid.
Original Medicare has two primary parts known as Part A and Part B. Part A covers hospitalization, such as the costs incurred by being admitted to a hospital. Most people on Medicare won't pay a premium for Part A since they already paid for this coverage during their working years.
Part B covers many outpatient (medical) services, such as lab tests, doctor office fees, outpatient surgery, ambulances, certain equipment, supplies and much more. Most people will pay a premium for Part B. The amount of that premium can vary for various reasons, but most people are paying $134 in 2017.
By choosing Original Medicare, beneficiaries can receive quality care from any provider in the country, as long as the provider accepts Medicare. Because of this, many "snowbirds" choose this coverage. Original Medicare does not require the use of provider networks and it does not require referrals from a primary care provider to see a specialist. Original Medicare also allows for relatively fixed costs, as long as it is coupled with one of the standardized Medigap plans.
Original Medicare alone may not be enough. Most Medicare beneficiaries who stay on Original Medicare, add in a Medigap Plan as well as a Prescription Drug Plan. For more information on those Plans, simply click the red links.
Putting It All Together
If you choose to stay on Original Medicare, you can think of three components (Medicare A&B, Medigap and Prescription Drug Plans) as three components of one plan. They are separate but they work together to provide the coverage you want.