How Medicare Is Divided

Last updated: October 7, 2015

Medicare Is a 4 Part Program

1. Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance

  • Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals (includes critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals).

  • Helps cover skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long-term care), hospice, and home health care services.

2. Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance

  • Helps cover doctor services and outpatient care.

  • Helps cover some preventive services to help maintain a person’s health and to keep certain illnesses from getting worse.

  • Helps cover durable medical equipment.

3. Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans

  • A way to get Medicare benefits through private insurance companies. These companies are approved by and under contract with Medicare.

  • Includes Part A, Part B, and usually other benefits Medicare doesn’t cover. Some plans also provide prescription drug coverage for an additional cost.

  • Part C takes the place of Parts A and B.

4. Medicare Part D: Prescription Coverage

  • Run by private companies approved by Medicare.

  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.

  • Each plan can vary in cost and drugs covered.