Medicare is divided into 4 parts. Medicare itself has different Parts, not Plans. Let’s review the A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare:
PART A- HOSPITAL INSURANCE
Part A helps you cover common expenses for things such as hospital stays, hospice, home health care and even skilled nursing facility stays.
PART B- MEDICAL INSURANCE
Part B is for outpatient services that are deemed medically necessary including services like doctor office visits, lab testing, diagnostic imaging, preventive care, surgeries, ambulance rides, chemotherapy and radiation, and even extensive dialysis care for people with renal failure.
Part A & B together make up what is called Original Medicare. These are the only parts that you will sign up for through the social security office or Railroad Retirement Board.
PART C- MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS (MA)
Part C plans are private health plans that you can choose instead of Original Medicare. MA covers everything from Parts A and B and often covers other services like dental, vision and wellness programs.
PART D- MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN
Part D is offered by private insurance carriers who are contracted by the federal government. These plans give you lower copayments on your medicines than you would pay without Part D insurance.
In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B.
With Original Medicare you may be subject to deductibles and coinsurance.