How Do Medicare Plans Differ?

Medicare is the federal health-insurance program for people age 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant. Different parts of Medicare help cover specific services.

Medicare Part A (hospital insurance)
Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home healthcare.

Medicare Part B (medical insurance)
Part B covers certain doctor services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage plans) 
This is offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide all your Part A and Part B benefits. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under original Medicare. Most offer prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)
Medicare Part D plans add prescription drug coverage to original Medicare.

Not sure what kind of coverage you have?

  • Check your Medicare and other insurance cards. Call the number on the cards to get coverage information.
  • Check your Medicare health or drug plan enrollment information.
  • Call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). for TTY call 877-486-2048.

Open enrollment to change your Medicare plan takes place annually from October 15 through December 7.

– Source:, the official U.S. Government site for Medicare.