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Medicare Basics

Most Americans join Medicare when they turn 65, but it’s also available to younger people with certain disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a transplant).

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a national health insurance program administered by the federal government. It is not part of the Health Insurance Marketplace. Medicare is made up of four parts. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) are considered Original Medicare. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) are plans offered by insurance companies and private companies that contract with Medicare.

Original Medicare

Offered by the Federal Government

Hospital Insurance

Hospital Insurance

Part A helps pays for:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care after a hospital stay
  • Some home health care and hospice services
Medical Insurance

Medical Insurance

Part B helps pay for:

  • Doctor office visits and services
  • Most outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Many preventive services

More Medicare Coverage

Additional Medicare Coverage Offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico

You can choose to enroll in:

Hospital, Medical, and Prescription Drug Insurance

Medicare Advantage

Combines what’s covered by Part A and Part B and adds benefits, often including prescription drug coverage (Part D)

Part C always covers you for all benefits included in Parts A and B.

May include coverage for:
  • Dental, hearing and/or vision services
  • Health, wellness, and fitness programs

Part C plans may also include:

  • Provider networks to help manage costs
  • A Part B Premium Buy-down benefit that reduces the Medicare Part B premium that you pay to the Social Security Administration
  • A preloaded flexible spending card to help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses for covered dental, vision, and hearing services

If you enroll in a Blue Cross Medicare AdvantageSM plan, you cannot also enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan.

Or, you can choose to enroll in:

Prescription Drug Insurance

Prescription Drug

Helps cover costs of prescription drugs with copays or coinsurance

Learn more about Medicare Part D.

Or, you can choose to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan on its own or paired with a Part D plan:

Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Helps with costs that Medicare Parts A and B do not cover

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans help to pay for:
  • Coinsurance
  • Copayments
  • Deductibles

Help Me Choose a Plan

Not sure what you need? Answer a few questions to help you decide. Get started

Now that you’ve picked a plan, it’s time to enroll.

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Last Updated: Sept. 20, 2022