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Medicare Basics – A, B, C, D

Hospital sign

Medicare has four parts. Each part covers different services. The information listed below will help you understand Medicare Coverage options, so you can make informed choices based upon your health, your budget or both.

Basic Medicare Information

When you first enroll in Medicare and during certain times of the year, you can choose how you get your Medicare coverage. When you're ready, our trained, certified volunteers can work with you one-on-one to help you make the right call. To find a counselor near you, click the link below.

Hospital Insurance (Part A)

Medicare Part A helps pay for four kinds of medically necessary care:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay
  • Home health care
  • Hospice care

Part A has deductibles and coinsurance, but most people do not have to pay premiums for Part A. If you have a specific question regarding Medicare Part A coverage or claims, call 1-800-633-4227. View The Medicare and You Handbook which contains Part A benefit information.

Medical Insurance (Part B)

Medicare Part B helps pay for:

  • Doctor’s services
  • Outpatient hospital care
  • Durable medical equipment (DME)
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Many other health services and supplies that are not covered by Medicare Part A

Part B has premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts that you must pay yourself or through coverage by another insurance plan. If you have a specific question regarding Medicare Part B coverage or claims, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also use the link below to view and download the Medicare Handbook which also has Part B benefit information.

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Medicare Advantage Plans are an alternative to traditional Medicare coverage and some include additional benefits. Many also provide prescription drug coverage. SHIIP can help you understand Medicare Advantage and whether it’s right for you.

Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D)

In 2006 Medicare added a prescription drug benefit called Medicare Part D. Medicare contracts with private companies to offer prescription drug plans. You can enroll in a plan that offers only drug coverage or you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan which includes drug coverage, along with other health coverage.