A Simple Overview of Medicare

If you have recently begun looking into Medicare, you may be confused by some general terms that are often thrown around in conversations about the policies. If you do not know the jargon of the industry then what you hear and read may seem like Greek.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed, but in order to ensure that yourself or a loved one get the best care possible, you need to know some commonly used vocabulary. We have covered the basics for you here.

Read through these terms and their meanings and then take the quiz that follows:

Medicare Part A

This is typically paid for through payroll taxes over the time that the owner of the policy (or their spouse) was working. Therefore, there isn’t usually a monthly premium. This insurance covers hospital stays and critical care but not routine doctor’s visits or long term care. Some home healthcare and hospice is covered. Think of it as the “basic” Medicare policy.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is more like typical medical insurance, for which you pay a premium. The policy will pay for many things that Part A does not cover – such as physical therapy, outpatient care and routine doctor’s visits. This policy is a great way to pay a low price for quality care.

Prescription Drug Coverage

Also known as Medicare Part D, these policies are purchased through a private company and is meant to reduce prescription costs. Beneficiaries choose a drug plan that works for them and pay a monthly premium. As of 2006, it is available to everyone who qualifies for Medicare is eligible for a drug plan.

Supplemental Insurance

Also known as Medi-gap policies, these policies are meant to help pay for things that Medicare doesn’t cover. Beneficiaries pay a monthly premium to a private insurance company. There are still many things that aren’t covered, however. Dental, vision and long term care are all examples of medical services not covered by most Medi-gap policies.


1. Medicare Part A policies are typically paid for by the beneficiaries.

True or False?

2. Medicare supplemental plans are called Medi-gap policies.

True or False?

3. All Medicare recipients are offered free prescription drug plans.

True or False?

4. Medicare Part D is sold through private companies.

True or False?

Hopefully you did well on your quiz and you have now graduated Medicare 101! If you are a caregiver for an elderly family member, please share this information with your loved one and ask them to take the quiz and then talk about their benefits. Be sure that they are aware of the basics of Medicare, as well. For more information visit Medicare.gov