Medicare Basics

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Medicare Basics & Essentials
Medicare can be confusing.  We developed this page in order to provide foundational information about the basic parts of Medicare.  Once you’ve become familiar with Medicare Basics & Essentials, please take a more detailed look at Medicare Parts A, B, C, & D.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is health insurance that will cover particular medical supplies and services.  It is available to people age 65 or older; people under the age of 65 with specific disabilities; and people of any age that have End Stage Renal Disease.

What are the components of Medicare?

Medicare is broken into 4 parts.  Parts A, B, C, and D.  Each of these parts will provide health coverage in a unique way.

Medicare Part A

Part A is Hospital Insurance that helps cover some of your costs.  What does Part A cover?
1. Your inpatient care in a hospital.
2. Your care in a skilled nursing facility.
3. Hospice care.
4. Home health care.

what does medicare part a cover

Medicare Part B

Part B is your Medical Insurance that helps cover some of your costs. What does Part B cover?
1. Doctor and related health care provider services.
2. Outpatient care.
3. Home health care.
4. Durable Medical Equipment.
5. Some health preventative services.

Medicare Part C

Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage (MA).  What does Part C cover?
1. Your Part A & B coverage is now managed and run by a Medicare approved insurance company and not original Medicare.
2.  You are not automatically placed in a Part C (Medicare Advantage) plan.  It is a choice to be made by you to join a Part C or Medicare Advantage plan.
3.  Typically includes Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) as part of the plan.  This is known as MAPD (Medicare Advantage with Part D).

Medicare Part D

Part D is your coverage for Medicare prescription drugs.  What does Part D cover?
1.  Part D is managed and run by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare.
2.  You are not automatically placed into a Part D plan.  Just like Part C, it is a choice to join a Part D plan.
3.  Part D plans are designed to help cover prescription drug costs.
4.  The Part D plan may help protect against increasing drug costs in the future and lower your prescription drug costs.

Medicare Supplements

Medicare pays roughly 80% of your Part A and Part B medical costs and you’re responsible for the remaining 20%.  Medicare supplement insurance plans are there to help cover that 20%.

Medicare supplements have nothing to do with Part C (Medicare Advantage) or Part D.  You will want to get a Part D drug plan if you opt for a Medicare Supplement to help with drug costs.

Please remember that when you become eligible for Medicare, you can opt for either a Medicare Supplement -or- a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).  You are not allowed to have both.

Joann Quinn

Joann Quinn

Hello, my name is Joann Quinn and I'm the co-founder of and a licensed independent insurance agent in multiple states. I've written over 50 articles about Medicare and Medigap insurance. My goal is to make Medicare and Medigap less confusing. I know Medicare seems overly complicated, but with some guidance you'll gain the confidence you need to make important decisions about your benefits.

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