At some point, you likely received a book called "Medicare and you 2011". Turn to page 49. This page tells you exactly what the two choices are for your coverage. They take you through it in steps this decision in steps. Step one is to decide which way to go with your coverage. After reading Part I and Part II of this article series, you should be better prepared to make that decision.
The first choice for coverage is to stay with original Medicare, which includes both Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (doctors, outpatient treatment and major testing). In addition you will want a drug plan, called Medicare Part D. Lastly, because Part A and B have major cost exposures, you will want to purchase a Medicare supplement policy to fill the "gaps". If you need a covered service, the provider will bill Medicare directly and the outstanding balance will automatically be billed to your supplement.
Your second choice is to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, or Medicare Part C. These plans are offered though private insurance companies who contract with the federal government to offer coverage. These plans typically are in the form of HMOs or PPOs. The plans combine A and B coverage and often have the Part D plan included. If you need a service, the provider will bill the Advantage plan directly and they will pay according to the benefits schedule of the particular plan you are with.
Now that you know what your choices are, read Part II of this article series to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each form of coverage.