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Parts A & B – Original Medicare

What is Original Medicare?

Original Medicare is sometimes called “Traditional Medicare” or “fee for service” Medicare. With Original Medicare, you can go to any doctor, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or outpatient treatment clinic that accepts Medicare assignment. You usually pay a deductible and part of the cost of the services you get.

Medicare decides what doctors and other health care providers can charge for the services Medicare covers. You pay a percentage of this charge. This is called a coinsurance.

You also pay a set amount each year before Medicare starts paying. This is called a deductible.

Original Medicare is made up of two parts: Part A, which covers mostly inpatient care, and Part B, which covers mostly outpatient care. If you want drug coverage, you will need to join a drug plan through Part D.

Part A: Hospital insurance

Part A is often called hospital insurance because it pays for your care while you are in the hospital.  Part A also pays some of the costs if you stay in a skilled nursing facility or if you get health care at home. Finally, Part A covers hospice care for people who are terminally ill.

Part B: Medical insurance

Part B pays for doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, and home health care that Part A does not pay for. It also covers these:

  • Laboratory tests, such as X-rays and blood work.
  • Medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and hospital beds.
  • Orthotics (devices that support your joints) and prosthetics (artificial body parts).
  • Mental health care.
  • Ambulance services.

Medicare also covers a number of preventive services that can help you to stay healthy.

Find out more about all of the specific services and supplies covered by Part B in Medicare’s coverage database.

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