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Getting started

What’s covered by parts A, B, C,and D

  • Part A covers hospital inpatient care, some types of home health care, hospice care, and care in skilled nursing facilities. There is no premium for Part A if you or your spouse has earned at least 40 Social Security work credits.
  • Part B covers doctor services, outpatient hospital care, preventive care, and some types of home health care. You have to pay a monthly premium for Part B. In 2014, it’s $104.90 for individuals with an income of less than $85,000 a year and couples with an income of less than $170,000. Higher-income beneficiaries pay more.
  • Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an alternate way of getting your Part A and Part B benefits. Instead of the government paying your provider directly, Part C plans are run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies. If you elect to get your benefits through Part C, you must also be enrolled in Part A and Part B.
  • Part D covers prescription drugs. This is an optional benefit that is only available through private insurance companies. Most Medicare Advantage plans include Part D.