Medicare Benefits: The Different Parts of Medicare

Medicare is health insurance for people age 65 or older, under 65 with certain disabilities, and any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). ESRD is permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services if you meet certain conditions.

Medicare Part A   –   (Hospital Insurance)

  • Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals (includes critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals).
  • Helps cover skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long-term care), hospice, and home health care services.

Medicare Part B   –   (Medical Insurance)

  • Helps cover doctor services and outpatient care.
  • Helps cover some preventive services to help maintain a person’s health and to keep certain illnesses from getting worse.
  • Generally pays 80% of the Medicare-approved amount for covered services.

Medicare Part C   –   (Medicare Advantage Plans)

  • A way to get Medicare benefits through private companies approved by and under contract with Medicare.
  • Includes Part A, Part B, and usually other benefits Medicare doesn’t cover. Most plans also provide prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Part D   –   (Prescription Drug Coverage)

  • Run by private companies approved by Medicare, which can either be Medicare Advantage Plans or separate Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.
  • Each plan can vary in cost and drugs covered.


Medicare Part D Annual Enrollment Period
Begins Oct. 15 and ends December 7th; New Benefit Choices Take Effect in January of each year.

Every year, people with Medicare get to explore new choices and pick the health and drug plans that work best for them. Medicare open enrollment begins October 15th and ends December 7th of each year.

During the Medicare annual enrollment period, all Medicare beneficiaries may change their Medicare coverage for the coming year.   This includes anyone using traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage.

The open enrollment period gives people with Medicare a full seven weeks to compare and make decisions, and ensures that they will have essential plan materials and membership cards in hand on January 1st each year when new coverage starts.

We will need the following information from you:
  • Medicare Card
  • List of Medications and Dosage
  • Preferred Pharmacy
  • Household Income

The AAAPB will screen Medicare beneficiaries concerning eligibility for Low – Income Subsidy (LIS), also known as Extra Help.

The Area Agency on Aging of the Permian Basin (AAAPB) can assist you.   If you call our agency at 563-1061 or 1-800-491-4636, our Information and Referral Specialist will obtain contact information from you.   The agency’s Certified Benefits Counselors, the designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in the Permian Basin, will then call and assist you.