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Medicare Info's Mission.

Because of the significant amount of out-of-pocket payments that may be required by Original Medicare, a booming market of private-sector insurance products has grown up around the federal government programs. These Medicare-related insurance products could be one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. health insurance industry overall. And they are the part of the market on which consumers may want to focus his or her attention. Medicare Info's mission is to help people understand these products and provide tools to assist in the decision making process.

The market for private-sector Medicare-related coverages can be described as including :

Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

Sometimes called "Medigap" insurance, though some industry professionals don't like that term - which, to various degrees, cover the things traditional Medicare doesn't. They help pay for "gaps" in Original Medicare and include minimal standard coverages. They offer different enhanced coverages and are approved by each state they are offered.

Medicare Advantage Plans

An alternative to Original Medicare with any of several managed-care style plans like Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans that may require little or no out-of-pocket payments. These types of plans can limit out-of-pocket expenses every year and require you to stay in-network for services at reduced costs and sometimes include prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Part D coverage can supplement Original Medicare or a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan. Some medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) include Part D within their benefits.

In order to qualify for most Medicare-related plans, you must meet the standard Medicare eligibility requirements and live in the "geographic service area." Medicare-related plans are regulated by each state and approved for sale within geographic service areas. In most cases, these areas are organized on a county-by-county basis; in some large urban markets, they're organized on a city or even neighborhood basis. If you move out of your geographic service area during a plan's coverage term, you will usually have a Special Election Period that allows you to enroll in another Medicare-related plan approved for sale in your new location or switch back to Original Medicare.