Medicare has several different parts:
- Part A – Inpatient Hospital Coverage
- Part B – Medical / Outpatient Coverage
Part C – Medicare Advantage Plan
Part D – Prescription Drug Plan
Original Medicare is the traditional fee-for-service program offered directly through the federal government and helps pay for hospital inpatient coverage and medical and outpatient coverage. Neither Part A or B cover prescription drugs. If you want Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) with Original Medicare, in most cases you will need to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare private drug plan (PDP).
Part C is known as a Medicare Advantage Plan, a type of private insurance offered by companies that contract with Medicare (the federal government). You still have Medicare if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. This means that you will still owe a monthly Part B premium (and your Part A premium, if you have one). Each Medicare Advantage Plan must provide all Part A and Part B services covered by Original Medicare, but can do so with different rules, costs, and restrictions that can affect how and when you receive care. Medicare Advantage Plans can also provide Part D coverage.