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Health Care Options Under Medicare

At UMass Memorial Health, we understand that every situation is unique and understanding your options for Medicare coverage is important, and often overwhelming. We appreciate that you have many questions and decisions to make and want to be a trusted resource for information regarding options to access Medicare benefits. 

Understanding Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older, and people with certain disabilities. Medicare is broken into numerous parts, as described by and referenced below:

Part A (Hospital Insurance): Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care.

Part B (Medical Insurance): Helps cover:

  • Services from doctors and other health care providers
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and other equipment)
  • Many preventive services (like screenings, shots, or vaccines, and yearly “Wellness” visits)

Part D (Drug coverage): Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs (including many recommended shots or vaccines). You join a Medicare drug plan in addition to Original Medicare, or you get it by joining a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage. Plans that offer Medicare drug coverage are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.

Medicare Advantage (also known as Part C) is a Medicare-approved plan from a private company that offers an alternative to Original Medicare for your health and drug coverage. These “bundled” plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D.

In most cases, you’ll need to use doctors who are in the plan’s network or may need a referral to see a specialist.  Plans may have lower out-of-pocket costs than Original Medicare. Plans may offer some extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover — like vision, hearing, and dental services.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap): Extra insurance you can buy from a private company that helps pay a portion of the “gap” between what Medicare covers and the portion of health care costs for which you are responsible under Original Medicare (like your 20 percent coinsurance). Policies are standardized and in most states named by letters, like Plan G or Plan K. The benefits in each lettered plan are the same, no matter which insurance company sells it.  

To find helpful information about Medicare plans we accept, please call the UMass Memorial Health Medicare Resource Line, powered by our trusted Medicare advisor HealthShare360, at 508-978-0340, Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 2 pm or visit For additional information, visit or call 800-Medicare (800-633-4227).