"Medicare offers two basic coverage options: traditional fee-for-service or Medicare Advantage, which is a managed-care alternative that offers all-in-one coverage for hospitalization, outpatient services, and (often) prescription drugs.
You may be able to save money by joining an Advantage plan, and nearly 30% of eligible Medicare beneficiaries now use this option. When you join an Advantage plan, Medicare provides a fixed payment to the plan to cover your Medicare Part A (hospital) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage. There may be additional copayments and deductibles, depending on the type of plan you join, but your total annual out-of-pocket costs are capped. Many Advantage plans also offer--and charge for--supplemental benefits such as vision, hearing, and dental care.
Tradeoffs to consider: You are agreeing to use physicians in the Advantage plan's provider network. It's also critical to take a close look at the plan's prescription-drug coverage to make sure it will cover your medications without additional expense or qualification hassles.
The alternative is traditional fee-for-service Medicare. You'll be able to use virtually any health-care provider; you'll need to sign up for a Part D prescription-drug plan and will probably want a Medigap supplemental plan, which helps cover out-of-pocket costs."
Quoted from 5 Ways to Confront New Health-Care Costs in Retirement by Mark Miller. read full article at: http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=658934&part=1