Medicare Alphabet 101 For Beginners - What Do All Those Letters Actually Mean?


Let's start with the basics:

There are four Medicare “Parts.”

  • Part A (Gives you help with hospital costs)
  • Part B (Gives you help with doctor’s care and outpatient care) 
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans)
  • Part D (Prescription Drug Plans)


Side Note: Letters are also used for different types of Medicare Supplement Plans, so don’t get the “Part" letters and “Plan" letters confused! They are for totally different things!


Part A: Hospital Insurance
(Includes skilled nursing facilities or hospice, and some home health care.)

For more details on Part A, click on this link


Part B: Medical Insurance
(Includes doctor services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment and some preventive services.) 

For more details on Part B, click on this link


Part C: Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies as an alternative to Original Medicare; plans are government subsidized and regulated. A Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) is another Medicare health plan choice you may have as part of Medicare. 

If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan will provide all of your Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most Medicare Advantage plans (but not all) include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).

For more details on Part C, click on this link

To learn more about costs for Medicare Advantage Plans, click on this link


Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

Part D Plans are offered by private companies to provide coverage for prescription drug costs; plans are government subsidized and regulated.

For more details on Part D, click on this link

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Medicare Supplement Plans

A Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance policy, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.

A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan. Those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits.

For more details on Medicare Supplements (Medigap) click here.

Source: Medicare.gov

These are some of the Medicare Supplement Benefit Plan Letters that may possibly be available. Plans A, B, C, (High Deductible Plan C), D, F, (High Deductible F), G, K, L, M, N. However, not all plans may be available in your state and not all plans are offered by every insurance company.


Related Blog Posts:

  1. Medicare Questions - Plans, Parts, & More
  2. Medicare - When To Enroll
  3. Medicare – What Do I Need To Do To Enroll?
  4. Medicare - Questions To Ask When Enrolling
  5. Medicare - Part A & Part B - Do I Have To Sign Up Or Does That Happen Automatically?
  6. Medicare Part D - When To Enroll & More


External web link to Reader’s Digest Glossary of Medicare Terms and definitions.


Note: Medicare Insurance information can be overwhelming and confusing to many people. As an independent licensed agent I can explain things to you in simple terms so you feel comfortable making a decision. Then I can help you choose and enroll in a plan that you feel fits your needs.

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