What Are the Different Parts of Medicare?

There are four parts of Medicare, and each one helps pay for different health care costs. You may have heard people refer to them as different alphabet letters. Here's a look at how they break down and what each part covers.

Original Medicare: Parts A and B

Original Medicare is a public health insurance program. It’s run by the federal government through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and it's made up of two parts, Part A and Part B. Each has its own deductible.

  • Part A helps pay for hospital and facility costs. This can include paying for a hospital room, meals and nursing care. It can also help cover the cost of hospice, home health care and skilled nursing facilities.
  • Part B helps pay for medical costs outside the hospital. This includes doctor visits and outpatient procedures, as well as preventive care, like flu shots.

Together, Parts A and B make up Original Medicare, which is a program run by the federal government.

Medicare Advantage: Part C

Medicare Advantage, or Part C, is only available through private health insurance companies, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

These plans package Parts A and B together and offer more coverage. They usually cover more of the costs you'd pay 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.

Medicare Advantage plans also usually include prescription drug, dental, vision and hearing coverage. 

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we offer comprehensive Medicare Advantage plans at an affordable price. Our plans include all-in-one dental coverage including crowns, fillings, extractions and other restorative services.

Prescription drug plans: Part D

Part D helps pay for prescription drugs. It's an optional plan you can buy through private insurance companies, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Depending on the plan you choose, it can cover some generic, brand-name and specialty drugs.

You can buy a Part D plan and pair it with Original Medicare. Or, you can pair it with a Medicare plan that doesn't offer prescription drug coverage.

Some people pair Part D plans with a type of insurance called Medigap, also known as Medicare supplement. Keep in mind you can't pair this plan type with Medicare Advantage plans.

Don't go without Part D prescription drug coverage. You may have to pay a penalty for each month you lack drug coverage, or have drug coverage that doesn't meet certain standards.

Learn more about Part D plans we offer at BCBSM.

Medicare supplement: Medigap

Medicare supplement plans, sometimes called Medigap, are another Medicare plan option you buy through private insurance companies, like Blue Cross.

However, they don't work like most health insurance plans. Instead, Medicare supplement plans help pay the share of the costs you're responsible for with Original Medicare. 

Here's how it works: You pay a monthly premium for your Medicare supplement plan. In return, the plan pays most of your out-of-pocket costs.

Keep in mind that Medicare supplement plans don't cover prescription drugs. That's why people often pair these plans with one of our Part D plans.

Also, while Original Medicare covers some dental, vision and hearing services, routine care isn't covered with a supplement plan. We offer a Dental Vision Hearing Package as an add-on with our Blue Cross® Medicare Supplement plans.

We have several different Medicare supplement plans, including Plans A, C, D, F, HD-F, G, HD-G and N, so you can be sure to find the right one for your unique situation.

Ready to sign up for a Blue Cross Medicare plan? Explore our plan options.

Important information about Medicare supplement plans

This is a solicitation of insurance. We may contact you about buying insurance. Blue Cross Medicare Supplement plans aren't connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

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