What is Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)?

Medicare Advantage plans are Medicare-approved, but offered by private insurers. These Medicare plans combine Part A and Part B, and often Part D prescription drug benefits into one plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer vision, dental, hearing and/or health and wellness programs at an extra cost.

There are a few key things you should know about Medicare Advantage plans:

  • They often require you to pay copays
  • Doctors and hospitals you visit will usually need to be a part
    of a network
  • You may need a referral to see a specialist

Medicare Advantage plans pay a fixed dollar amount for covered services, but you will still need to pay your Part B premium and (depending on your plan):

  • Part A premium
  • Part C premium (some plans have low or no premiums)
  • Copays and coinsurance
  • Any deductibles

Note: Those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan cannot also have a Medicare supplement plan.

What is Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)?

Once you have Medicare Parts A and/or B (Original Medicare), you are able to purchase a Part D plan separately. These plans exist to help cover prescription drug costs. Costs vary from plan to plan, since various Medicare-approved private insurers offer these plans. Part D works with a Medicare supplement insurance plan or on its own, and you can get Part D benefits through some Part C plans.

There are some important things to know about coverage and payment with Part D plans. Each year Part D pays for:

  • Covered prescriptions included on the formulary (a list of covered
    drugs based on the plan you select)
  • Varying shares of other covered prescription costs until you reach the
    coverage gap
  • Most of the other covered prescription costs after you are out of the
    coverage gap

You will be responsible for paying:

  • A monthly premium
  • Varying shares of covered prescription costs until you reach the coverage gap
  • Varying shares of the cost of generic and brand name drugs while
    in the coverage gap
  • Low (or sometimes zero) copays or coinsurance for prescription
    drug costs after you are out of the coverage gap

Now that you’ve gotten an overview of the different types of Medicare and Medicare-related insurance plan options available, let’s see how an AARP® Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan, insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, may be able to help you out.