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Parts of Medicare

There are different parts of Medicare to match your medical coverage needs and budget.

Parts A and B

You’ll sign up for Medicare through Social Security. You can sign up for Parts A and B, or Part A only.

Part A (hospital insurance)

Part A helps pay for inpatient care at:

  • Hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospice

It also covers some outpatient home health care.

Part A is free if you worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You may also be eligible because of your current or former spouse’s work.

Part B (medical insurance)

Part B helps cover:

  • Services from doctors and other health care providers
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Some preventive services

Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. The exact premium depends on your income level. Review what you might pay for Medicare at

Parts C and D

Private companies run Parts C and D. The federal government approves each plan. Costs and coverage types vary by provider.

Part C (Medicare Advantage)

Part C is known as Medicare Advantage. It’s an alternative to Parts A and B that bundles several coverage types, including Parts A, B, and usually D. It may also include:

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Dental insurance

You must sign up for Part A or Part B before enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Part D (prescription drug coverage)

Part D helps cover prescription drug costs.

You must sign up for Part A or Part B before enrolling in Part D.

Get started with Parts C and D