Traditional Medicare includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Under this plan, Medicare pays patients' health care providers directly for treatment such as inpatient and outpatient care, hospice services, home health care, physicians' services and some preventative care. This differs from the Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), under which patients receive coverage from the program indirectly via Medicare-approved private insurance companies.
Patients who receive Traditional Medicare coverage typically pay a monthly premium for Part B ($99.90 in 2012); about 99 percent of the people covered by this plan receive Part A premium-free since they or their spouses qualify through at least 40 calendar quarters (10 years) of Medicare-covered employment. Those who do not qualify can apply for and purchase Part A coverage for a $451 monthly premium as of 2012. People who have worked for 30 to 39 Medicare-covered quarters can buy Plan A for a reduced $248 premium.
Additionally, those with traditional Medicare have the option of filling coverage gaps in the plan by purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy from a private company.
What Is Medicare?
What Is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?
When Did Medicare Coverage Actually Begin in the United States?
Why Was the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act (MCCA) of 1988 Repealed in 1989?
What Is the Common Pool Feature of Medicare?