Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage:

How Do They Compare?

Original Medicare


Medicare Advantage

Medicare Parts A and B

Also Known As

Medicare Part C

Federal Government

Who Offers the Coverage

Private Insurance Companies

Original Medicare includes Parts A and B.

Part A:

Part B:

What it Covers

Medicare Advantage combines all of your coverage into one plan and often includes prescription drug coverage

Plans can also offer additional benefits Original Medicare doesn't cover, like:

Part A is free for most people

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $144.60 for 2020, an increase of $9.10 from $135.50 in 2019.
Medicare also charges deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

What it Costs

Each Medicare Advantage plan sets its own premium, in addition to your Part B premium.

Plans have predictable copays and coinsurance.


Generally speaking, Part B covers about 80 percent of a person's health care costs, leaving them to cover the remaining 20 percent out of pocket.

Annual Cap on Out-of-Pocket Expenses


Medicare Advantage plans set an out of pocket max to help you predict how much may have to pay for health care services each year. The limit depends on the plan but can't be more than $6,700 in 2020.

Benefits and Features

Original Medicare

Medicare Advantage *

Coverage for hospital stays

Coverage for some medical care, like doctor visits

Preventive service, like flu shots

Preventive service, like flu shots

No coverage

Prescription drugs

No coverage

Routine vision coverage

No coverage

Routine hearing exam and hearing air coverage

No coverage

Limits your annual out-of-pocket costs

No coverage

*Benefits vary by plan.

Option 1

Add one or both of the following to Original Medicare.

Option 2

Choose a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Offered by private companies

Helps pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that come with Original Medicare

Medicare Part D Plan Offered by private companies

Helps pay for prescription drugs

Medicare Part D Plan Offered by private companies

Combines Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) in one plan

Usually includes prescription drugs coverage

May offer additional benefits not provided by Original Medicare