Parts of Medicare

There are two parts of Medicare provided by the federal government — Part A and Part B. 

However, there are two other parts you may have heard of called Part C and Part D. 

We’ll break down what each of them mean.

What is Medicare Part A?

Part A is the inpatient coverage for Medicare.

Part A covers: 

  • Inpatient care in a hospital — When you’re admitted to the hospital as an inpatient after an official doctor’s order, which says you need inpatient hospital care to treat your illness or injury.
  • Skilled nursing facility care 
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

Most of the time there is no premium for Part A. Certain taxes you paid during your working years are specifically for future Medicare coverage. If you’ve worked 10 or more years, you shouldn’t have to pay a premium for Part A.

What is Medicare Part B?

Part B administers coverage for the outpatient supplies and services for your healthcare. 

Part B covers:

  • Medically necessary services: Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.
  • Preventive services: Health care to prevent illness (like the flu) or detect it at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to work best.

There is a premium for Part B. It is $144.60 per month.

What is Medicare Part C?

Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is a private insurance plan that offers the same basic coverage of Parts A and B but also has additional benefits Original Medicare does not offer like: 

  • Adult day-care services
  • Dental
  • Fitness memberships
  • Hearing
  • Nutrition programs
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Services and supports for those with chronic conditions
  • Transportation to doctor visits
  • Vision
  • Wellness programs

If you have a chronic health condition, you may also receive additional benefits specific to your situation. These could include things like meal delivery, home cleaning, education programs for your disease, visits to a nutritionist, or transportation to grocery stores. 

With Part C, you’ll stay enrolled in Parts A and B but your Advantage plan technically pays the bill you’d normally send through Medicare.

What is Part D?

Part D is a private insurance plan that pays for your prescription medications. Original Medicare does not have a prescription drug benefit. 

If you want your prescriptions covered, you’ll have to purchase a standalone Part D plan or get the coverage through an Advantage plan.

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