What do Medicare Parts A, B, C and D mean?

Who is this for?

Learn more about how Medicare works.

If you're new to Medicare, this information will help you understand the different parts and what they do.

There are four parts of Medicare. Each one helps pay for different health care costs.

Part A helps pay for hospital and facility costs. This includes things like a shared hospital room, meals and nurse care. It can also help cover the cost of hospice, home health care and skilled nursing facilities.

Part B helps pay for medical costs. This is care that happens outside of a hospital. It includes things like doctor visits and outpatient procedures. It also covers some preventive care, like flu shots.

Parts A and B together are called Original Medicare. These two parts are run by the federal government. Find out more about what Original Medicare covers in our Help Center.

Part C helps pay for hospital and medical costs, plus more. Part C plans are only available through private health insurance companies. They’re called Medicare Advantage plans. They cover everything Parts A and B cover, plus more. They usually cover more of the costs you’d have to pay for out of pocket with Medicare Parts A and B. Part C plans put a limit on what you pay out of pocket in a given year, too. Some of these plans cover preventive dental, vision and hearing costs. Original Medicare doesn’t.

You can see a list of the Medicare Advantage plans we offer and what they cover.

Part D helps pay for prescription drugs. Part D plans are only available through private health insurance companies. They’re called prescription drug plans. They cover commonly used brand-name and generic drugs. Some plans cover more drugs than others.

You can read about our prescription drug plans and what they cover. Many Medicare Advantage plans include Part D prescription drug plans built right into them.