Frequently Asked Questions
4. What is Medicare Part C and what does it cover?
Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes known as Medicare Part C, are plans people can join to get their Medicare benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans are available in many areas of the country, and a person who joins one of these plans will get all Medicare-covered benefits. These plans cover hospital costs (Part A), medical costs (Part B), and sometimes prescription drug costs (Part D). Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Medicare Advantage Plans are managed by private insurance companies approved by Medicare.
To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, a person must have Medicare Part A and Part B and must pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium to Medicare. In addition, it might be necessary to pay a monthly premium to the Medicare Advantage Plan for the extra benefits that they offer.
In most of these plans, there are generally extra benefits and lower co-payments than in Original Medicare. (See Question #6 for information about Original Medicare.) However, a person may have to see doctors that belong to the plan or go to certain hospitals to get services. A person can switch plans each year in the fall if desired.
To find out what Medicare Advantage Plans are available in your area, visit http://www.medicare.gov and choose the link Compare Health Plans and Medigap Policies in Your Area to use the Medicare Options Compare tool, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).