The Different Parts of Medicare

There are four parts of Medicare. Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage), and Part D (drug coverage).

There is also Medigap (Medicare Supplement), which is private insurance and is not part of Medicare but can help fill in the gaps in Original Medicare.

Of these, Parts A and B are Original Medicare and are the base-line coverage everyone who qualifies for Medicare qualifies for, and Part C, D, and Medigap are optional types of insurance that offer choice and often offer better cost-sharing.

TIP: In general, people typically do one of the following when it comes to Medicare: Hold only Part A and B, add a stand-alone Part D plan to their Part A and B plan, obtain a Medigap with or without a drug plan, or obtain a Part C Medicare Advantage policy with or without a Part D drug policy. There are many ways to mix and match Medicare, but it all starts with Original Medicare Part A and B and then deciding if you want extra benefits/cost-sharing coverage (Medigap or Medicare Advantage) and/or drug coverage (Part D stand-alone or Advantage with a drug plan).

Original Medicare Part A and B

Original Medicare is Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

  • Part A is inpatient/hospital coverage.
  • Part B is outpatient/medical coverage.

Part A is “premium-free” if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working for a certain amount of time, while Part B has a premium based on income.

Every citizen qualifies for Original Medicare when they turn 65 or meet other criteria.

Original Medicare covers all the basics, but it doesn’t fully cover cost-sharing or drug costs. Often people will pick Medigap, Part C, or Part D plans to cover the extra costs in exchange for additional premiums.

Part C, Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are comprehensive Medicare plans that can cover everything from Original Medicare covers, provide additional cost-sharing and benefits beyond what Original Medicare offers, and can include drug coverage.

There are many different plan C options.

Some part C plans just offer medical and hospital coverage, while other plans come bundled with a drug plan.

When you get plan C, your insurer takes over your A and B plans.

Part C is part of Medicare, however, Part C plans are sold by private companies.

Part D, Drug Coverage

Part D plans are drug plans that cover additional cost-sharing when it comes to drugs. Part D plans can be purchased as stand-alone plans or they can come bundled with Part C plans.

Part D is part of Medicare, however, Part D plans are sold by private companies.

Medigap Plans

Medigap, also called Medicare Supplement, fills in the gaps in Original Medicare to cover additional costs Original Medicare doesn’t cover like the Part A and Part B deductibles. It is important to note that Medigap isn’t part of Medicare, it is insurance sold by private companies. It is possible to have both a stand-alone drug plan and Medigap, however, you cannot have Medicare Advantage and Medigap at the same time.