I didn't even know what Original Medicare covered or that I had other options to consider.

Original Medicare, also called "traditional" Medicare, is a program offered through the federal government. It includes Part A, which is your hospital insurance, and Part B, which is your medical insurance to help pay for doctor visits. But Original Medicare doesn't cover everything, so you may want to learn more, both about stand-alone Part D plans for prescription drug coverage and Medigap for extra coverage, as well as Medicare Advantage plans or Part C, which is another option outside of Original Medicare.

What else should you know? Here are the major points. You're eligible for Original Medicare when you turn 65, or younger if you have a qualifying disability.

Medicare Part A not only helps cover care received in hospitals, but also skilled nursing facilities, some home health care and hospice.

If you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years, you don't have to pay a premium for Part A coverage.

But if you and your spouse have not worked, there will be a monthly premium that you'll need to pay.

Part B helps cover care received in doctor's offices, outpatient care, as well as other medical services, like preventive services.

There is a monthly premium for Part B coverage based on your income.

With Original Medicare, you will also need to pay deductibles, copays and coinsurances for the health care services you receive. These costs may vary, so you need to do your research thoroughly before you make a decision about your Medicare plan.

Well, those are just some of the main points of Original Medicare. To learn more about all your Medicare options, stop into an Independent Health Medicare Information Center and talk to a RedShirt. We're here to help you.

For more information, call Independent Health at: (716) 635-4900 or 1-800-958-4405

A sales person will be present with information and applications. For accommodations of persons with special needs at sales meetings, please call (716) 635-4900 or 1-800-958-4405 (TTY users call 711), October 1 – March 31: Monday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., April 1 – September 30: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.