The Medicare Project   
a consumer's guide to Medicare Information resources

topics in this section: Comparing Medicare Plans, Prescription plans, Medicare Insurance, Coverage, Comparisons

Comparing Medicare Plans The Medicare Project Home

Comparing Medicare Prescription Plans, Insurance & Coverage
Multiple resources that provide information and tools to compare the Medicare Prescription (Part D) Plans: Health Care Insurance, and Medicare Basic

This is one section of The Medicare Project, a series of consumer directories that help seniors through the maze of Medicare information in the hundreds of pages at government and private websites. Our editors have chosen these recommendations to help you find answers to questions about Medicare insurance and coverage. This section focuses on comparing Medicare Plans, Insurance, and Coverage.

A Brief Overview of Your Different Medicare Plan Choices

Basic Medicare (also known as original, traditional or regular Medicare) is the program in which people are automatically enrolled, and is offered by the federal government. Medicare pays a part of each health care service you get. It does not cover all health needs, and there are sizable deductables for hospital charges, doctor visits, and outpatient care at a hospital or clinic. You can purchase seperate Medicare supplemental insurance to fill the gaps in your standard Medicare coverage.

Supplemental Health coverage policies are often called Medigap plans. These policies help pay for gaps that standard Medicare did not pay for. Medigap policies are standardized: there are 12 different plans, labeled A-L (except in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin). Some plans are not available in all areas. These are available with or without prescription drug coverage.

Plan A Medigap coverage pays for the fewest benefits and is usually the least costly. Plans that pay for more benefits, like plan J, usually cost more.

Medicare Part D Plans help pay for prescription drugs. These Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are another type of supplement to your original Medicare coverage. As the name implies, they help pay for precriptions. The coverage varies, depending on the price you pay and the plan you select. Generally, more expensive plans give you more coverage against prescription costs. Some plans provide coverage through the prescription coverage gap, or "doughnut hole."

You can purchase prescription drug coverage that is combined with Medicare Medigap health insurance, or you can select plans that cover only prescription costs.

This information is a very simplified explanation of how and what Medicare plans cover. Be careful before making any decisions about what your personal Medicare choices, and use the links provided in this site to learn more before you act.

This overview was compiled with information available at the Medicare Rights Center. (For other Medicare topics, see our home page The Medicare Project - home)

Web pages and brochures from government, education, and non-commercial sites about comparing Medicare plans:

How to Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

source:Medicare Rights Center
file size: 2 pgs; languages: English
from the brochure: "Before you start looking at plans use chart on the back of this page to: · Make a list of the medicines you take and how much you currently pay for them. You may want to ask your doctor for help. · Make note of pharmacies you use regularly...."

web page:
Comparison Chart: Key Differences Among the Medicare Plans

languages: English
from the web page: "...1. Prescription Drugs; 2. Out-of-Pocket Costs; 3. Doctor and Hospital Choice; 4. Specialists; 5. Travel Coverage; 6. Financial Incentives..."
also from AARP:
web page:
Choosing the Right Medicare Plan for You
languages: English
from the web page: "...You may be able to get Medicare coverage through: The Original Medicare Plan ; Medicare Advantage Plans; Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) ; Medicare Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), and Medicare Private-Fee-For-Service (PFFS) Plans ; Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plans; Medicare Prescription Drug Plan..."

how to use this data

web page:
Find & Compare Medicare Health Plans - The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare
languages: English, Spanish
description: Information on costs, benefits, doctor choice and quality of the Medicare plans in your area.
more from - The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare:
web page:
Find & Compare Plans that Cover Drugs
languages: English
from the web page: "There are two types of Medicare plans that provide prescription drug coverage: Medicare Prescription Drug Plans... These plans add prescription drug coverage to the Original Medicare Plan, and certain types of Medicare Health Plans... Medicare Health Plans... Some of these plans cover both health care and prescription drugs..."

web page:
Medicare Worksheet for Comparing Medicare Health Plans

source:Federal Citizen Information Center of the U.S. General Services Administration
languages: English
from the web page:"...Medicare health plans may have differences among them, such as cost, choice of providers, extra benefits, quality, paperwork,complaints, and convenience. Use this worksheet to ask the questions that are important to you and compare the answers. The information you gather will help you compare plans ..."

Things to Think about when You Compare Medicare Drug Coverage

source:Cornell University Resource Education for Medicare Part D
file size: 8 pgs; languages: English
from the brochure: "To get Medicare coverage for your prescription drugs, you have two options. If you have the Original Medicare Plan, you must choose and join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Or, you may be able to choose and join a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) that includes Medicare drug coverage. Whichever you choose, you should know that prescription drug coverage can vary by cost, coverage, and convenience...."

web page:
Drug-Plan Shopping

source:WSJ Online"
November 4, 2007; languages: English
from the web page: "Seniors: Even if you are satisfied with your Medicare prescription-drug plan for 2007, you need to do some research before re-enrolling..."


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