Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • Medicare is the US national health insurance program for older Americans and some with severe illness
  • Medicare has four parts covering prescription drugs, medical insurance, comprehensive health care, and hospital care
  • Medicare is a system that mixes public and private healthcare
  • The federal government maintains overall management and oversight of Medicare

Medicare has private insurance and government operated programs. Eligible participants can choose public or private medical insurance coverage. The federal government primarily contracts with private medical care providers to deliver medical services. In this sense, Medicare is private healthcare with federal government management.

Comparison shopping is an excellent tool for selecting private Medicare insurance, prescription drug benefits, comprehensive coverage, and Medigap supplemental protection.

Enter your zip code above to compare health insurance today and explore private Medicare and senior health insurance options with free quotes!

What is Medicare?


Medicare is the national safety net for older Americans. Congress enacted Medicare in separate parts. The first was called Original Medicare. It consisted of hospital and medical insurance. Eligible participants pay for the health insurance during their working years.

After age 65, they can enjoy the benefits of comprehensive medical care, hospital care, and medical care. The system protects older Americans when income may be low and medical needs may be high.

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Public Management

Original Medicare was a publicly managed system. The Congress vested budget and operating controls in The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Medicare is a vast system involving millions of premium subscribers , thousands of contractors to handle billing, payments, durable medical supplies, and medical services from doctors and hospitals across the US.

The Congress decided to introduce private sector ideas and options for consumers and enacted Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D: Prescription Drugs.

The Individual Mandate


Older Americans must comply with the requirement of the Affordable Care Act that every eligible person have qualified health Insurance. Medicare Part B stands alone but does not meet the requirements of the mandate. One must pair the prescription benefits of Part D with Original Medicare to meet the mandate.

The below-listed parts of Medicare meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act for qualified coverage:

  • Medicare Part A is qualified health insurance that avoids the tax penalty for uninsured eligible individuals.
  • Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B make up what is referred to as ”Original Medicare”. This combination of coverage when held at the same time meets the requirements of the mandate.
  • Medicare Part C is the Medicare Advantage program. It is private insurance that meets or exceed the coverage of Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans meet the requirements for qualified health insurance.

Medicare Publicly-Managed Options


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid operate the below-listed Medicare programs through a vast network of contractors, vendors, and medical care providers. The publicly managed programs use private sector medical care providers to deliver services to eligible participants.

  • Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance is the primary Medicare program to protect older Americans needing hospital care.
  • Medicare Part B Medical Insurance – provides coverage for inpatient medical care and outpatient care. This part of Medicare includes durable medical equipment deemed medically necessary for outpatient treatment.
  • Original Medicare is Medicare Part A along with Medicare Part B- Medical Insurance. This powerful combination covers inpatient and outpatient care including surgery, rehabilitation, skilled nursing services, and medical equipment.

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Medicare Private Options


The Congress initially established Medicare as a publicly-operated program. They later added private sector participation in Medicare Advantage. The private insurers had the freedom to meet or exceed the coverage of Original Medicare by using innovative methods. Medicare Advantage offers the advantage of managed care and an all-in-one approach for consumers.

1. Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance packages that equal the coverage of Original Medicare but might cost less. Some Advantage plans have features not available on Original Medicare. The plans offer prescription drug benefits for an overall comprehensive package of Medicare benefits.

2. Medicare Part D Prescription Drugs

The prescription drug benefit has particular importance for modern medical practice. Doctors treat many serious conditions and illnesses with prescription medications. The costs of prescription drugs can burden Medicare participants, The private prescription insurance plans authorized by Part D can relieve the financial strain.

3. Medicare Supplement

The Medicare Part B Medical Insurance coverage typically leaves a coinsurance gap for the consumer. On average, Medicare Part B leaves 20 percent for the consumer’s account. Medicare Supplement or Medigap is a specialized private insurance that has guaranteed acceptance during the applicant’s initial open enrollment.

The insurance covers the coinsurance gap for Medicare Part B : Medical Insurance.

Dual Coverage


Some Medicare-eligible older Americans also qualify for Medicaid under the laws of the state of their residence. These individuals have dual coverage and can take advantage of subsidies and support programs available through Medicaid.

Dual coverage can ease the economic needs of certain Medicare recipients through programs such as Extra Help which reduces the costs of prescription drugs. Some persons with Medicare coverage and Medicare Part D: Prescription benefits still struggle to pay the costs of required medications. Dual coverage can help in such situations.

Private Medicare versus Public Medicare

The public is nearly equally divided when choosing private Medicare, Medicare Part C, and traditional Medicare. Some studies point to lower costs for users of private Medicare plans. There may be a simple explanation for the costs difference in private Medicare, and consumers cannot choose as easily nor self-refer to resources.

Medicare Advantage is managed care and often directed by a Primary Care Physician, as in HMO or EPO-style plans.

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Medicare has Public and Private Insurance Options


Medicare private insurance coverage includes the prescription drug benefit, comprehensive Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Supplement. Medicare is essentially private healthcare with a public payer.

Medicare funds come from insurance premiums, contributions from participants, and Federal Trust Funds. The private plans in Medicare Part C and Part D also have government oversight.

Comparison shopping is a proven and effective method for selecting the best values among private insurance options. Enter your zip code below to compare free Medicare private insurance quotes and other options near you!