parts of Medicare, learning about Medicare, medicare information, Medicare, Medicare coverage

Understanding the A, B, C’s of Medicare

Most people are familiar with health insurance and how it works, but heading into their sixties, it takes on even greater importance and meaning. Medicare is a federally-funded health insurance program available to people 65 years and older. It’s also available to younger people with certain disabilities or medical conditions, such as ALS or permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant.  The options and types of Medicare plans today are very different than when the program was introduced many years ago. Now it’s possible to buy a plan that offers a complete package of coverage, or build a plan that fits best by combining parts of Medicare. About those “parts”…

Medicare isn’t just one program. It’s comprised of four different lettered parts:

Medicare Part A Medicare Part B Medicare Part C Medicare Part D
What It Is Original Medicare – Hospital Insurance Original Medicare – Medical Insurance Medicare Advantage – (Combines Parts A, B & often D) Prescription Drug Coverage
What It Covers In-patient hospital care, skilled nursing home care, hospice and some home health care. Doctor visits, mental health care, outpatient surgery, lab tests and durable medical equipment. Part A and Part B services, with additional benefits. Many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage. Can be added a Medicare plan to cover prescription drugs.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network offer a variety of Medicare plan options to meet members’ unique needs and individual budgets, including Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Part D prescription drug plans.

  • Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) resembles the health coverage many people have before they become eligible for Medicare. It’s an all-in-one plan, covering Medicare Part A and Part B services and often including Part D prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans provide additional benefits, like immunizations, out-of-pocket maximums, preventive dental and hearing care and fitness memberships like SilverSneakers®
  • Medicare Supplement, also known as Medigap, works in addition to Original Medicare Parts A and B by covering a portion of the 20% of the cost Medicare doesn’t cover.  These plans can lower your out of pocket costs by covering all or part of your Original Medicare deductibles and coinsurance costs.
  • Part D Prescription Drug Plans are federal prescription drug plans managed by Medicare-approved insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network. Prescription drug coverage is not included in Medicare Supplement plans. People often choose to pair a standalone Part D prescription drug plan with their Medicare Supplement plan. Blue Cross offers a few different options for people considering a standalone drug plan.

If you’re interested in more information about Blue Cross Medicare plans, visit and read these blogs:

Photo credit: Rain Love AMR

Medicare Plus Blue℠ and BCN Advantage℠ are PPO, HMO-POS and HMO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue and BCN Advantage depends on contract renewal.

Y0074_W_ABCsMedicare CMS Accepted 05082017