Medicare has a lot of terminology, policies and processes that can be difficult to navigate and understand.
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The Medicare plan types are:
Original Medicare: The government-run benefit that includes Medicare Parts A and B
Medicare Part A: Covers inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care and some home healthcare. For most beneficiaries, there is no charge for Part A.
Medicare Part B: Covers physician services, outpatient services, laboratory tests, mental health services and other medical services not covered under Part A. Those enrolled in Part B will pay a monthly premium.
Medicare Part C also known as Medicare Advantage Plans: These are plans offered by private insurers as alternatives to Parts A and B. They usually provide additional benefits and may also include prescription drug coverage. The benefits and costs of these plans can vary widely.
Medicare Part D also known as a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP): These plans are offered by private insurers and provide prescription drug coverage which in most cases is not covered under Parts A or B. The formularies (drugs covered under the plan), clinical services and costs can vary widely.
Medicare supplemental insurance also known as Medigap plans: These plans are sold by private insurers and provide supplemental coverage to Original Medicare coverage. Unlike Medicare Advantage Plans, they are not meant to replace Parts A and B coverage but to provide additional benefits.