Health Insurance 101: Types of Medicare Plans

Medicare Part A? Part C? Huh?

Loading the player...

Before you sign up for Medicare, you might have assumed it was all just one set type of plan. However, there are different types of plans that individuals can choose from depending on their needs. Namely, you can choose Part A, Part B, Part C, and/or Part D.

Medicare Part A and B

Medicare Part A is Hospital Insurance, and it covers:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Skilled nursing home and nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • In-home health care

Medicare Part B is Medical Insurance, and it covers:

  • Preventative services, such as vaccines, screenings, and wellness visits
  • Medically necessary supplies and services to diagnose and treat illnesses

Some people only have Part B, but others have Part A and B. These two types of plans are considered the original or traditional version of this public health insurance program.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Part C is also called a Medicare Advantage Plan. It includes the coverage in Part A and B, but with additional coverage for dental, vision, hearing, and so on. Some call it a “bundled plan” since it includes all or most of the different components.

Just like when signing up for private insurance, you may be able to choose between different plans, namely HMO plans, PPO plans, etc. Basically, this affects whether you need to see in-network providers, and if you will have to pay extra for out-of-network services.

What About Prescription Medicines?

Medicare Part D covers prescription medications. If you have Part C, you might automatically get Part D. On the other hand, people who have Part A and/or B can opt to enroll in Part D as well.

There are other supplementary plans that can help you get the coverage you want for your personal health needs. For example, Medigap is a program that can help you afford your out-of-pocket costs.

To learn more about your options—and what’s best for you—visit Medicare.gov or speak to an insurance representative.