Learn the ABCs and Ds of Medicare

We want to help you understand the difference between Medicare Parts A, B, C and D.

Most people understand that Medicare is the federal system of health insurance for people 65 or older and people with certain disabilities. Beyond that, the details start to get more complicated.

What’s the most common request for help we receive? Our insurance specialists are most commonly asked to help explain the difference between the parts of Medicare and where supplemental insurance figures in.

The different parts of Medicare can be a little confusing so we’ve broken it down as simply as possible to help explain. After reading through our overview, feel free to explore our article library for more in-depth information. If you have specific questions and want immediate answers, pick up the phone and call us to have one of our insurance specialists provide clear and helpful answers to get you on the right track.

ORIGINAL COVERAGE (Traditional Medicare)

Medicare Part A – Hospital Insurance
In Brief:

Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals

Helps cover skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care

Provides partial coverage of Medicare-approved cost

Medicare Part B – Medical Insurance
In Brief:

Helps cover doctors’ services, hospital outpatient care, and home health care

It Helps cover some preventive services to help maintain health and keep certain illnesses from getting worse

Helps cover some of the durable medical equipment costs

Typically covers 80% of the Medicare-approved cost

Medicare Part C – Medicare Advantage 
In Brief:

Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, is a program offered by private health insurance companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It mixes Medicare Part A and Part B coverage with health plans like:

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO)

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)

Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans

Special Needs Plans (SNPs)

HMO Point-of-Service (HMO-POS) plans

Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans

Medicare Part D – Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
In Brief:

A prescription drug option run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies

Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs

It May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future

You need Part A and Part B coverage to enroll in Part D