We all know our ABCs, but when it comes to understanding Medicare, it can feel like the first day of school. What do all of the letters mean? Well don’t give up and just do eeny-meeny-miny-moe! Below is “cheat sheet” that will help you with the basics of Medicare so you can pass the test by choosing the best option and saving money.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and it generally covers inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care (certain conditions must be met to get these benefits).

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is medical insurance that generally covers doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

The Social Security Administration handles Medicare enrollment. You are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B if you’re 65 and receive Social Security checks.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Advantage Plans, also known as Part C, is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits and may offer extra benefits that Original Medicare does not cover, such as vision or dental services. Many Medicare Advantage Plans include prescription drug coverage in the plan. Monthly premiums vary according to the plan you choose.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

Medicare Part D, also known as “PDPs” are stand-alone prescription drug plans that are approved by Medicare and offered by a private insurance company. Each Part D plan will have its own list of drugs that are covered. This is known as a formulary. Anyone enrolled in either Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B is eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Medicare Part D plans to add drug coverage to their Original Medicare coverage, Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) plan, or certain Medicare Advantage plans, including Cost Plans, Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans, and Medical Saving Account (MSA) plans.

If you or someone you love is eligible for Medicare and you would like to learn more about the options, call us at Call (800) 488-7621 or find a HealthMarkets agent near you.

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