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What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a health insurance program for:
  • People 65 or older
  • People under 65 with certain disabilities
  • People of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)

The Parts of Medicare: A, B, C & D

Original Medicare Includes Part A and Part B:

Part A - Hospital Insurance:
Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care), hospice and some home health care. Many people automatically get Part A once they start receiving disability benefits from Social Security. Most people don't pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working.

Part B - Medical Insurance:
Part B helps cover doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, preventive care, physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. You will need to sign up for Part B during your initial enrollment period (the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65; includes the month you turn 65; and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65). If you don’t sign up for Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Part C – Medicare Advantage Plans:

Part C is Medicare Advantage plans such as HMOs and PPOs. PacificSource offers Medicare Advantage Plans. Part C is administered by insurers such as PacificSource under contract with Medicare. These plans include both Medicare Part A and Part B in one convenient plan, and fill in some of the gaps in Medicare coverage. Some plans also include Part D Prescription drug coverage and preventive dental in a single plan. Most people will pay a monthly premium for Part C coverage. You must continue to pay your Part B premium and must have both Part A and Part B to enroll.

Part D - Prescription Drug Coverage:

Part D is prescription drug coverage run by private companies approved by and under contract with Medicare. These plans help lower prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future. Like other insurance, if a beneficiary decides not to enroll in a drug plan when they are first eligible, they may pay a penalty if they choose to join later. Most people will pay a monthly premium for this coverage.

You may be able to get Extra Help to pay for your prescription drug premiums and costs. To see if you qualify, call:

  • 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). TTY users should call 877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/7 days a week;
  • The Social Security Office at 800-772-1213 between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call 800-325-0778; or
  • Your State Medicaid Office.

What You Pay

Below are some of the costs you will pay if you have only original Medicare:

Part B (Medical)

  • $174.70 monthly premium*
  • $240 yearly Part B deductible (you must first pay this amount for covered services before Medicare begins paying for your coverage)
  • 20% of the costs for most services, including doctor office visits, outpatient surgery, emergency and urgent care

Part A (Hospital)

  • $1,632 deductible per benefit period
  • $0 per day (days 1-60)
  • $408 per day (days 61-90)
  • $816 per each "lifetime reserve day" after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
  • You pay all costs beyond lifetime reserve days

Part D (Prescription)

  • Monthly premium: varies by plan and income

*Most people will pay the standard monthly Part B premium. However, some people will pay a higher premium because of their yearly income (over $85,000 for singles, $170,000 for married couples). For more information about Part B premiums based on income, call Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). TTY users should call 877-486-2048. You may also call Social Security at 800-772-1213. TTY users should call 800-325-0778.

What Medicare Doesn't Cover

There are some limitations to Original Medicare. In most cases, the following are not covered:

  • Care received outside the United States
  • Outpatient prescription drugs

Also, note that not all doctors accept Original Medicare, and there is no annual limit on your total out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement

If you want extra coverage in additional to Original Medicare, you can purchase it either through a Medicare Advantage plan or with a Medicare Supplement plan. With both plans, you are still on Medicare. Here are the main differences:

Medicare Advantage Plan (such as PacificSource Medicare plans)
These plans fill in the gaps by covering some of the costs Medicare does not cover. We provide more benefits than Medicare alone, or Medigap plans. And we provide personal service to make it easy.

We offer a variety of plans, including low-priced plans to help save you money. You can also get the convenience of plans that include medical (Part A and Part B) and prescription drug coverage (Part D) all in one plan. Most of our Medicare Advantage plans include dental benefits. You also have the option to add supplemental dental coverage for an additional monthly premium. For those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, we also offer a PacificSource Dual Care, an HMO D-SNP plan.

Finding a doctor is easy, because nearly every doctor in the region accepts PacificSource. And, with all our PPO and HMO-POS plans, you have the freedom to see any doctor who accepts Medicare in the United States. You're also covered when you travel, with worldwide urgent and emergency care.

When you go to the doctor you will need only one ID card: your PacificSource Medicare ID card. The front of the card will show whether you have medical, prescription drug, and/or dental coverage. The doctor's office will bill us. We will pay the bills on behalf of Medicare. Medicare reimburses us for their portion of the costs. Since we deal directly with Medicare, you and your doctor have less paperwork.

Monthly premiums are the same for all ages. Everyone on a particular plan will pay the same premium for that year.

For more information on Medicare Advantage plans, or to enroll, please call: 866-282-8814, TTY: 711

Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap)
These plans also fill in gaps in Medicare coverage. Original Medicare will cover the services under Part A and Part B. The Medigap plan will then cover some of the additional costs Medicare did not cover. If you also want prescription coverage, you would need to purchase a Part D plan in addition to your Medigap plan.

Not all doctors accept Original Medicare. If your doctor does not accept Original Medicare, you will either need to find another doctor, pay for the services yourself, or enroll in a plan that has a contract with your doctor. Generally, services outside the United States are not covered.

When you see a doctor, you must bring two ID cards: your red, white, and blue Medicare card and your Medigap card. The doctor will send bills to two places: first to Medicare to pay their portion, then to your Medigap plan to pay the plan's portion.

With Medigap, monthly premiums are based on your age.

Want to Learn More About Medicare?

Call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or visit for more information about Medicare benefits and services, including general information regarding medical or Part D benefits. TTY users should call 877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.