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Introduction to Medicare

Medicare is health insurance sponsored by the federal government for people 65 and older, or those under 65 who may qualify, if they have certain disabilities or conditions.  

Created in 1965, Medicare started with just two parts, Parts A and B, also referred to as Original Medicare. Later on, Medicare Advantage plans (also called Part C) and Part D prescription drug coverage were added as people’s needs changed. Unlike Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are private health insurance plans sold by companies like Florida Blue.  

What are the different parts of Medicare?

Original Medicare: Parts A and B

Original Medicare consists of Parts A and B. These are sponsored by the federal government. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays and inpatient care like  skilled nursing facilities. Medicare Part B covers visits to your doctor, preventive health screenings, durable medical equipment and more. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover all of your medical expenses. Because of this, other Medicare plans exist to help provide additional coverage.

Medicare Advantage: Part C

Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are an all-in-one plan offered by private health insurance companies. Medicare Advantage health plans include the same coverage as Original Medicare, plus extras like vision, hearing and dental care. Some Medicare Advantage plans also include Part D prescription drug coverage.

Prescription Drug: Part D

Medicare Part D, or prescription drug coverage, plans are also offered by private insurance health companies. They offer coverage for your prescription drug including medications prescribed by your doctor and some vaccines.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap)

Medicare Supplement plans, often called Medigap, help pay some out of pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare Supplement plans are private insurance plans. Most people who choose a Medicare Supplement policy also choose a Medicare Part D plan, too.

Is Medicare part of Medicaid?

Medicare and Medicaid are different government funded health care programs.

  • Medicare is a federal health insurance program open to everyone over 65 and people under 65 with certain conditions and disabilities.
  • Medicaid is a state managed, needs based program, and benefits are determined based on individuals financial and medical needs.

Some people are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid programs. If you are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, you may be able to get a special type of Medicare Advantage plan, called a dual-eligible special needs plan (DSNP).

Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything

Many people choose to enroll in extra coverage plans to help pay health care costs or get extra benefits not included as part of Original Medicare (Parts A and B). 

Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans bundle the coverage you get with Original Medicare with extra benefits, like dental, hearing and vision care, and prescription drug coverage. 

Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plans help you pay for your medications.


Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans help pay costs Original Medicare doesn't cover. 

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does NOT cover:

Prescription drugs

Dental exams, most dental care, or dentures

Routine eye exams, eyeglasses, or contacts

Hearing aids or hearing-related exams or services

Most care while traveling outside the United States

Chiropractic* care, acupuncture** or other alternative treatments

Part A and Part B deductibles and copays

*Medicare Part B only covers chiropractic services if medically necessary to correct a subluxation.
**Medicare Part B only covers acupuncture for chronic low back pain.

About to turn age 65? What does being new to Medicare look like?

Knowing when and how to sign up for Medicare can help you get through enrollment with ease. Whether you’re under 65, turning 65 today or working past 65, we can help you understand your Medicare choices every step of the way.

Medicare enrollment doesn’t automatically happen when you turn 65. You can enroll in Medicare anytime during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is the 7-month window when you can enroll in Medicare when you become eligible for Medicare.

Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP):

  • Starts 3 months before the month you turn 65 
  • Includes the month you turn 65 
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

You will be enrolled in Medicare Part A automatically if you sign up to receive Social Security benefits. You’ll also get to choose if you want to enroll in Medicare Part B. Make sure to enroll in Medicare as soon as you are eligible or you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty. 

We can help you enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period so you can relax and enjoy extra savings and health and wellness benefits. 

We break Medicare down so you can better understand it and know how to enroll and choose a plan that is right for you.

Call a licensed Medicare agent.
(TTY 1-800-955-8770)

Shop for Medicare plans in your area.

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Download a Medicare education guide.

Medicare Basics Guide

Florida Blue provides the information you need to choose the Medicare plan with health solutions that help meet your needs and budget.

Medicare Basics Guide

Medicare & You

U.S. government handbook on Medicare benefits, rights, and protections, available health plans, and more.

Medicare and You Guide

Medicare Planning Checklist

Florida Blue is with you all the way, providing a checklist with the steps you need to get started with Medicare as you approach age 65. 

Get Ready for Medicare

U.S. government handbook explaining important decisions you need to make before Medicare coverage starts.

FBM EDU 007 F 122022
Last Updated: 10.01.2023