Original Medicare, or Medicare Parts A & B, is also known as “traditional Medicare” or “fee-for-service” Medicare. Original Medicare covers doctor, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or outpatient treatment clinic treatment if Medicare assignments are accepted.

If you have Original Medicare, you need to purchase a separate Part D plan for prescription drug benefits. Some people also choose to purchase a Medigap plan to offer supplemental coverage to Original Medicare.

Original Medicare has 2 parts:

  • Part A – Inpatient Care or “Hospital Care”
    Pays for hospital care and some of the costs for a stay in skilled nursing facilities and healthcare at home. Also covers hospice care for those who are terminally ill.
  • Part B – Outpatient Care
    Pays for doctors’ services like screenings and lab tests, outpatient hospital care and home healthcare, which is not covered by Part A.

The following graphics provide more coverage details:

What do Parts A/B cover? 

Part A Part B
Hospital care "Welcome to Medicare" exam prevention visit*
Skilled nursing facility care Annual "Wellness" visits every 12 months*
Short-term nursing home care Laboratory tests i.e., X-rays and blood work
Home health care services Medical equiptment i.e., wheelchairs and hospital beds
  Orthotics and prosthetics
  Mental healthcare
  Ambulance services

*If additional tests or services are needed, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply. 

What do parts A and B NOT Cover

Annual physical exams, except for a one-time "Welcome to Medicare" exam when you join Medicare and an annual "Wellness" visit every 12 months 
Long-term nursing home care for more than 100 days
Acupuncture, naturopathy, etc.
Routine foot care
Cosmetic surgery
Hearing aids
Routine dental care and dentures
Routine vision care
Care outside the United States