What are Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D?

Sometimes you need a guide to Medicare as all the coverages can be confusing.  For this reason, we have put together this introduction to medicare parts A, B, C, and D to help you.

The United States Government administers Medicare health insurance that is broke down into four parts or programs. Each part offers a particular defined set of benefits for the recipient. Not all recipients qualify for all parts. In general, people over the age of 65 or individuals with disabilities qualify for one or more of the Medicare programs. Medicare is an individual insurance and may provide benefits to one spouse, while the other may continue to receive health insurance coverage from other sources.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A provides hospital insurance benefits for anyone qualifying for Social Security benefits. For most people, the Part A benefit is automatic and does not require a payment or withholding from the beneficiary. Part A provides coverage for inpatient hospital care and skilled nursing care as well as some related services.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B provides coverage for medical expenses like doctor’s visits, medical testing and any other medical services provided on an outpatient basis. The beneficiary pays a premium for Part B coverage usually in the form of a withholding from Social Security benefits. In some situations, Medicare Part B provides coverage for durable medical equipment such as walkers or even eyeglasses after cataract surgery. Most people who qualify for Social Security and Medicare Part A also qualify for Medicare Part B. Enroll at a Social Security office or its website for these two principle parts of Medicare.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C Medicare, is a hybrid coverage. A health care insurance company contracts with Medicare to offer the same services as Medicare Part A and B along with additional services that may reduce the costs of copayments or deductibles. The insurance provider receives a subsidy from Medicare and may charge the beneficiary an additional premium. The private insurance company administers part C coverage. To qualify, the beneficiary must be eligible for both Medicare Part A and B and enroll in the Part C coverage through an insurance agent or provider.

Medicare Part D

The only benefits provided by Medicare Part D are prescription drugs. Medicare Part D requires the beneficiary to enroll and select a plan. The beneficiary pays a premium based on the plan they chose. Plan costs and coverage can vary widely and require some research by the beneficiary in order to find the best value. Enrollment in Medicare Part C or Part D is generally accomplished through an insurance agent or provider.


Do you have questions about our Guide to Medicare?  Leave us a comment or question below or visit our Frequently Asked Questions. You can also find more of our ABC’s of Medicare and a chart of what is covered by Medicare Parts A and B.

Clicking on Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D above will take you to further details about each part of Medicare. If you can’t find what you are looking for in our Guide to Medicare, then you may want to view our Medicare Publications.

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