Medicare basics: What you need to know

Signing up for Medicare isn’t difficult, but it’s important to understand the difference between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans to make sure you get the coverage that’s right for you.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people at any age with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant).

Medicare Parts A, B, C and D

Original Medicare is made up of Medicare Parts A and B. These parts cover doctor and hospital services.

  • Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals. Part A also helps cover skilled nursing facilities, hospice and home health care.
  • Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps cover doctor services and outpatient care. Part B also helps cover some preventive services to help you stay healthy and keep certain illnesses from getting worse
  • Medicare Advantage is known as Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits Original Medicare doesn’t cover   
    • Medicare Advantage plans combine Parts A and B, and also cover services like routine dental and vision services, hearing aids, fitness benefits and worldwide emergency medical coverage.
  • Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.
    • Even if you’re not taking prescription drugs (or only taking a few), delaying enrollment in Part D may result in higher premiums if you need prescription drug coverage in the future.
An older couple getting care.

Geisinger Gold offers a variety of Medicare Advantage plans to help you choose the right fit for your needs and budget. Part D coverage is included in most of our Medicare Advantage plans, so all your medical coverage is in one place. And it's easy to tell which Geisinger Gold plans include prescription drug coverage — just look for "Rx" in the plan name.


Y0032_17274_1 CMS Approved 10/13/17

Related information

Learn more about Geisinger Gold.

Shop for a Medicare plan

Find out more about our Medicare Advantage plans. 

We're here to help

Schedule a home visit, talk with a Geisinger Gold representative or find a neighborhood meeting.

Find a doctor, pharmacy or prescription

See which doctors, pharmacies and prescriptions are available with Geisinger Gold.

Health and wellness programs

Our online, telephone and in-person programs will help you stay on track with your health goals.