Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is a Medicare plan that offers you the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Part C also provides coverage for dental, vision, hearing, and prescription drugs.

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What Medicare Part C covers

Medicare Part C covers everything that is covered under Original Medicare. 

  • Inpatient hospital care — Care you receive after you’re admitted into a hospital. You’re covered for up to 90 days each benefit period and 60 lifetime reserve days. 
  • Skilled nursing facility care — Room, board, and certain services. You’re covered for up to 100 days each benefit period. To qualify for this coverage, you must have spent at least three consecutive days at the hospital within 30 days of admission to the nursing facility, and need their services.
  • Home health care — 100 days of daily care or an unlimited amount of intermittent care. To qualify, you had to have spent at least three consecutive days in the hospital within 14 days of receiving home health care.
  • Hospice care — If your healthcare provider determines you are terminally ill, your care is covered for as long as your provider says you need it.
  • 80% of medically required services or supplies used to diagnose or treat medical conditions
  • 80% of preventive services: Health care used to deter illness or detect it at an early stage

Part C also provides coverage for routine dental, hearing, and vision exams, including other factors that help promote your health, such as wellness programs or gym memberships. You can also receive prescription drug coverage with Part C.

What does Medicare Part C cost?

For some, a Part C premium can be $0, but it can range to over $270. You’ll also be responsible for paying your Part B premium, but you can check with your plan to see if a portion of the premium can be covered. You may also have to cover costs for a Part C deductible and copayments.

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Do I need to enroll in Part C?

Part C is optional and serves as an alternative to Original Medicare. If you want to enroll in Part C to receive additional benefits, you must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B first. You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B the month you turn 65. If you do not receive Social Security benefits, then you will need to sign up for Medicare. You can do so online at, by calling them at 1-800-772-1213, or in person at your local Social Security Office.