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What is Medicare Part C?

Retired couple reading about what Medicare Part C is

Let’s start with the definition of Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage plans, or Medicare Part C, are comprehensive plans that include the same benefits of Medicare Parts A and B plus additional coverage. That’s important if you need more than what Original Medicare provides. Here’s a comparison between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare, so you can choose the best fit for you.

What does Medicare Part C cover compared to Original Medicare?

Medicare Part C plans cover Part A and Part B, and many also include prescription drug coverage and other benefits not available with Original Medicare. That’s why, of the approximately 64 million people who applied for Medicare, nearly 22 million of them opted for Medicare Advantage plans.1

Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B. Part A covers hospitalization, home care and other inpatient medical needs. Part B covers outpatient care such as doctor visits, medical tests, screenings and preventive care.

Many people may need more coverage for their health care needs. For example, Original Medicare doesn’t have prescription drug coverage. Private insurers offer Medicare Part D coverage, but even then, there still may be areas of your health care where you need protection. That’s where Medicare Part C plans come in.

What are Medicare Part C benefits?

As you do with Part D, you apply for Medicare Advantage plans through private insurers like Anthem, who typically give you more coverage options. Plus, Medicare Advantage (Part C) has more coverage for routine health care that you use every day.

Medicare Advantage plans may include:

  • Routine dental care including X-rays, exams and dentures
  • Vision care including glasses and contacts
  • Hearing care including testing and hearing aids
  • Wellness programs and fitness center membership

What are Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) costs?

It’s pretty easy to find a Medicare Advantage plan that fits your budget. Premiums, deductibles and copays vary from plan to plan and state to state. Anthem has many options, and there are money-saving programs for those with low incomes.

Medicare Advantage plans also cap your out-of-pocket expense for Part C covered services. Once you reach the cap, you pay nothing for the rest of the year. That’s one of the added benefits of Medicare Part C.

Compare Medicare Advantage plans

When you apply for Medicare you can compare your Medicare Advantage plan options.  Here are some key questions to ask:

What providers are available in a plan’s network?

Are your preferred hospitals or preferred doctors included in a Medicare Advantage plan? Providers can change yearly, so it’s best to make sure your family doctor is still in the plan after your initial enrollment. Just ask when you go for a doctor visit.

What prescription drugs are covered?

You can use our find a drug tool to see what drugs are available in the plan. If you need medications, are they available and affordable under a selected plan?

What are the maximum out-of-pocket costs?

Weigh your budget with coverage to find a plan that fits your needs. A lower out-of-pocket maximum may be preferable so you have peace-of-mind protection for unexpected injuries or illnesses.

How to enroll in a Medicare Part C plan

If you are applying for Medicare for the first time, you can choose a Medicare Advantage plan during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is the seven-month period that includes:

  • Three months before your 65th birthday
  • Your 65th birthday month
  • Three months after your 65th birthday

If you’re already enrolled in Original Medicare, you can change to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which is October 15 to December 7. Make sure to consider Medicare Part C for all the cost savings and benefits. You can also switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan during this time.

You also have a chance to change your Medicare Advantage plan from January 1 to March 31 during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

Looking for the perfect plan that fits you is a good way to research Medicare. And as your health care needs change, you can use the enrollment periods to make changes to your coverage.


Compare the cost and coverage of Medicare Advantage plans. Find a plan that fits you.

Y0114_20_113219_U  CMS Accepted 9/10/19

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of: In Colorado Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. In Connecticut: Anthem Health Plans, Inc. In Georgia: Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc.  In Indiana: Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. In Kentucky: Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. In Maine: Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc. In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area): RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. In Nevada: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. dba HMO Nevada. In New Hampshire: Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. HMO plans are administered by Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. and underwritten by Matthew Thornton Health Plan, Inc. In Ohio: Community Insurance Company. In Virginia: Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. In Wisconsin: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (BCBSWI), which underwrites or administers the PPO and indemnity policies and underwrites the out of network benefits in POS policies offered by Compcare or WCIC; Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (Compcare) underwrites or administers the HMO policies and Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company (WCIC) underwrites or administers Well Priority HMO or POS policies. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Use of the Anthem websites constitutes your agreement with our Terms of Use.