Know your Medicare ABCs & Part D

Medicare is divided into ‘parts,’ covering different types of health benefits. These are commonly referred to as Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. 

The term “Original Medicare” refers to Medicare Parts A & B. 

Part A is for Hospital Care

Part A helps cover inpatient hospitalization, care in skilled nursing facilities, hospice care and some home health care, usually for no monthly premium.

  • You may still have to pay out-of-pocket costs for some services, including a deductible.
  • Most people who have been employed automatically get Part A. 

Part B is for doctor visits

Part B helps cover medical services such as visits to a doctor’s office, durable medical equipment and outpatient care.

  • You may have to pay a percentage of the cost for some services, in addition to your yearly deductible.
  • You usually pay a monthly premium, based on your income, which is typically deducted directly from your Social Security check. 
    Get details.
  • If you’re going to continue to receive coverage through your employer past age 65, you may decide you do not want to take Part B
    See your options.

Part C is a Medicare Advantage plan

For many people, Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything they want or need. A Medicare Advantage plan includes the benefits of Parts A and B, but can also offer extra benefits like dental and vision coverage.

  • You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in C. See if you’re eligible.
  • You usually pay a monthly premium to the health insurance company for a Part C plan, and continue to pay your Part B premium, which is deducted from your Social Security check each month.
  • Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private health insurance companies, like Mass General Brigham Health Plan. Explore these plans.
  • Some even include Part D prescription drug coverage.

Part D is for prescription drug coverage

Part D is prescription drug coverage that includes many commonly used brand name and generic drugs. Original Medicare does not include any coverage for prescription drugs. You need to have Part A and Part B to be eligible for Part D.

  • There are two ways you can get Medicare Part D:
  1. You enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan that includes Part D coverage
  2. You enroll in a standalone Part D plan
  • There is generally a monthly premium based on income for Part D coverage
  • Based on income, you may pay a Part D surcharge to Medicare, deducted from your Social Security check
  • If you are low income or are on both Medicare and Medicaid, you may be eligible for extra help with Part D drug coverage. Get details.

Learn more about Mass General Brigham Health Plan's Part D Prescription Drug Coverage

NOTE: If you don’t enroll in Part D when you first become eligible, or do not have coverage as good as Medicare’s, you may have to pay a penalty if you join at a later date. Get details.

Important information

Medicare allows you to be a member of only one Medicare Advantage plan at a time. If you join a Medicare Advantage plan and later choose a Part D drug plan from another insurance or pharmacy company, Medicare will:

  1. Enroll you in that drug plan for your Part D drug coverage.

  2. Automatically disenroll you out of your current Medicare Advantage plan.

  3. Allow you to keep Medicare (Parts A and B) for your medical coverage for the remainder of the year, along with the other drug plan you chose.

Our Medicare Advisors are here to help.

Get expert guidance to help you understand your options, find the right plan and make sure your transition to your new plan goes smoothly with no disruption to your care.

Call 855-486-3097 (TTY 711) 

Seven days a week, 8 AM-8 PM Eastern Time  

April 1-September 30, call Monday-Friday, 8 AM-8 PM