Since you may already know that a Medicare Advantage program (known as “Medicare Part C”) covers everything that is already covered by Medicare Part A and Part B, it may seem confusing to wonder why you would need anything else. The key to understanding why a Part C plan might be preferable to Original Medicare is knowing exactly what each of these “Parts” is and what they do. Generally, you cannot receive “Part A” without “Part B” and vice versa — these features make up Original Medicare. What exactly do they mean, and why would you opt for anything different?

Medicare Part A is one part of Original Medicare and is also a feature of any Medicare Advantage plan. The long and the short of it is that Medicare Part A covers any kind of health service that you receive from a doctor or other healthcare professional at a place of healing, such as a hospital. Medically speaking, these are generally known as “in-patient” procedures. For example, if you have a medical emergency and must go to the emergency room, this is considered an “in-patient” procedure. Original Medicare provides for low or no monthly premiums for the majority of “in-patient” procedures.

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Medicare Part B is the “second” area of Original Medicare and is also included in your Medicare Advantage options. Medicare Part B is the part of Medicare that covers all “outpatient” procedures. It is also the portion of your Medicare that will help with what’s known as “durable medical equipment.” “Durable” simply means that the item in question can be reused over and over again. For example, wheelchairs and other mobility aids are by far the most common pieces of durable medical equipment. Oxygen tanks and other, related items are also very typical when it comes to this medical category.

We’ve already mentioned that Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage) is special because it covers everything that Part A and Part B also cover. What differentiates it from Original Medicare is the fact that it can also cover things not generally provided for under ordinary Medicare. You see, Medicare is administered by the federal government, whereas Medicare Part C is handled by private organizations with federal oversight. Thanks to strict federal standards, it is impossible to acquire a Part C plan that does not include Part A and Part B. However, you can also get more coverage than A and B would allow.