Understanding The Parts Of Medicare: A, B, C And D

Medicare coverage consists of four separate parts, called Parts A, B, C and D. The different parts provide different types of coverage, and their costs differ as well. Depending on your coverage selections, you may be enrolled in multiple parts at once.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A provides hospital insurance. It helps covers inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, home health care and hospice care.

Most people qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A coverage. As long as you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters, you will not have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B provides medical insurance. It helps cover preventative services, doctor services, services from other health care providers, outpatient care and home health care. It also helps cover durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs.

Medicare Part B is not free. You will pay a monthly premium that is based on your income bracket. For example, in 2019, people who earned $85,000 or less on an individual tax return in 2017 paid $135.50 each month. For joint tax returns, the limit was $170,000. People who earn more than the income limit pay a higher premium. The premium may be deducted from your Social Security benefits.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C is commonly called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies. They combine the coverage provided by Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, and they may also provide prescription drug coverage.

Additionally, many Medicare Advantage plans provide additional benefits that are not included in Medicare Part A or Part B. These benefits can include dental, vision and hearing benefits, as well as non-medical benefits and many other options.

Some Medicare Advantage plans have a $0 premium. This means that you don’t have to pay anything above your costs for Medicare Part B. Other Medicare Advantage plans have a premium that you will pay on top of your other Medicare costs. In 2020, the average monthly Medicare Advantage premium is expected to be $23.

Medicare Advantage plans vary considerably in terms of both cost and coverage, so it’s important to compare your options. In 2020, there will be an average of 39 plan choices per county.

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage. Medicare Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies, and beneficiaries typically have multiple plans to choose from. For 2020, the average monthly premium for Medicare Part D plans is expected to be $30.

Your Coverage Options

When you enroll in Medicare, you have two main options.

You can enroll in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, often called Original Medicare. To obtain prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. You can also enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan, which helps keeps your out-of-pocket costs down.


You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. If your plan does not include prescription drug coverage, you can also enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you cannot enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.

Need help choosing the best Medicare combo for you? Request a quote from an Insurance Line One agent here.

  • https://www.medicare.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/10050-medicare-and-you.pdf

  • https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-drives-down-medicare-advantage-and-part-d-premiums-seniors

  • https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-a-costs

  • https://www.medicare.gov/index.php/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs


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