Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance

Part A of Medicare covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. If you have paid Social Security taxes for at least 40 quarters (10 years) this coverage is free.

Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance

Part B covers doctor and outpatient visits for the diagnosis and treatment of your health conditions. This includes outpatient services received at a doctor’s office, hospital, clinic, or other health facility. Most people pay a monthly premium to Medicare for their Part B coverage. If you are going to be new to Medicare in 2016 the standard Part B premium is $121.80.

Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage

Part C of Medicare allows health insurance companies to provide Medicare benefits. These health insurance plans offered by insurance companies are referred to as Medicare Advantage Plans. They are managed health care plans such as HMOs and have networks which means they have doctors and hospitals they want you to see to receive your medical care from. Medicare Advantage Plans must offer the same benefits as Original Medicare but they do not have to cover every benefit the same way. These plans can have higher out-of- pocket costs than Medicare for some benefits and are required to limit out-of-pocket cost to no more than $6,700 in a calendar year.

Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

Part D of Medicare provides outpatient prescription drug coverage. Part D prescription drug coverage is not provided by Medicare but only through insurance companies that have contracts with the government to sell this coverage. Your monthly premium, deductible, ​co-pays and co-insurance depend on the plan you choose.