is provided by the federal government. Part A helps pay for hospital stays and inpatient care, while Part B helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care. Everyone who enrolls in Medicare gets Part A and Part B first.
Medicare Part D
is prescription drug coverage. Part D coverage can be obtained from private insurance companies in one of two ways: (1) as a stand-alone Part D plan, (2) as part of a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage. With either choice, the different drugs covered will vary from plan to plan.
Medicare Advantage, or Part C
is an alternative way to get Part A and Part B coverage benefits. Medicare Advantage plans are “all in one” plans that are offered by private insurance companies. With Medicare Advantage plans, you still enroll in Part A and Part B through the federal government, but then you will enroll in a Part C plan with a private insurance company. Once you do that, you will get your Part A and Part B benefits through your Medicare Advantage plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans also include Part D prescription drug coverage, as well as other benefits such dental, vision, hearing and fitness. There are different types of Medicare Advantage plans, and what additional benefits are provided vary from plan to plan.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan,
also known as Medigap, helps pay some of the out-of-pocket costs not paid by Original Medicare (Parts A & B). There are 10 plans, organized by letters (ex. Plan G) and standardized by the federal government.* However, it’s important to note that Medigap plans are only available to purchase directly from private insurance companies. Each Medigap plan offers the same basic benefits no matter which insurance company sells it, but costs may vary.
*Note: In Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, there are different plan options available.