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Untangling the multiple parts of Medicare

When we began our retirement series a couplemonthsago, there was one topic that kept coming up: Medicare.

Questions about managing health care as a senior flooded our inbox. Andit’sno wonder. Medicare is complicated. Nearly67millionpeopleusesome form ofthe federal government’s health insurance program, which is for those over 65 and younger people with some disabilities. But untangling the multipledifferent partscan be a headache.

And then there’s Medicare Advantage.

Unlike traditional Medicare, which is through the government, Medicare Advantage is a privatized insurance plan. With the help of some star-studded commercials, it’s become increasingly popular.

But it’s also become controversial. According to a 2023 study from the Brown University School of Public Health, nearly half of those who signed up for Medicare Advantage left their plans by the end of five years.

So, what’s going on? And what should you know before enrolling?  We try to untangle Medicare, Medicare Advantage and answer your questions about health care as a senior.

Medicare resources:

Medicare Rights Center

Medicare Rights Center National Hotline: 800-333-4114

Medicare Open Enrollment

What to Know about the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and Medicare Coverage Options | KFF

Medicare Open Enrollment FAQs

Retiree Health Benefits: Going, Going, Nearly Gone?

10 Reasons Why Medicare Advantage Enrollment is Growing and Why It Matters

The Facts About Medicare Spending

How Health Insurers and Brokers Are Marketing Medicare

Income and Assets of Medicare Beneficiaries in 2023

Medicare Spending and Financing

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Michelle Harven