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Understanding the Difference Between Medicare Part D and Part C

Navigating the complexities of Medicare can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding the different parts. Medicare Part C and Part D are two vital components of Medicare, each offering distinct benefits. In this post, we'll clarify the differences between Medicare Part C and Part D, and explain how Preferred Senior Benefits can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage.

What is Medicare Part C?

Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an alternative to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. These plans provide all the benefits of Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), and often include additional benefits such as:

  • Prescription drug coverage (similar to Part D)

  • Vision, dental, and hearing services

  • Wellness programs

  • Gym memberships

Medicare Advantage plans typically come in several forms, such as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Private Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS), and Special Needs Plans (SNPs). One of the significant advantages of Part C is the convenience of having all your healthcare needs covered under a single plan.

What is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D is the prescription drug coverage component of Medicare. This plan is also provided by private insurance companies and helps cover the cost of prescription medications. Beneficiaries can add Part D to their Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or choose a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage (MA-PD).

Key features of Medicare Part D include:

  • A formulary: Each Part D plan has a list of covered drugs, known as a formulary, which is divided into tiers based on the medication's cost.

  • Coverage phases: Part D includes different phases such as the deductible phase, initial coverage phase, coverage gap (donut hole), and catastrophic coverage phase.

  • Monthly premiums: Beneficiaries pay a monthly premium for Part D coverage, which varies by plan.

Key Differences Between Medicare Part C and Part D

While both Medicare Part C and Part D are integral to comprehensive healthcare coverage, they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics:

  • Coverage Scope: Part C (Medicare Advantage) includes all services covered under Parts A and B, often with additional benefits, while Part D specifically covers prescription drugs.

  • Provider Network: Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) may require you to use a network of doctors and hospitals, whereas Part D plans do not have network restrictions for pharmacies.

  • Cost Structure: Part C plans may have lower out-of-pocket costs for services, but require using network providers. Part D plans have a structured cost-sharing system for medications.

How Preferred Senior Benefits Can Help

We understand that choosing the right Medicare plan can be overwhelming at Preferred Senior Benefits. With over 140 5-star Google reviews, our independent agency is dedicated to helping seniors in Idaho and Utah navigate their Medicare options. Here’s how we can assist you:

  • In-Person Consultations: Visit us for a face-to-face meeting where we can discuss your specific needs and help you compare Medicare Part C and Part D plans.

  • Phone Support: Give us a call to receive personalized advice and answers to your Medicare questions from the comfort of your home.

  • Virtual Meetings: Schedule a Zoom appointment for a comprehensive consultation, no matter where you are.

Our experienced team is here to provide unbiased guidance, ensuring you find a plan that fits your healthcare needs and budget. We stay updated on the latest Medicare changes, so you don’t have to. Trust Preferred Senior Benefits to simplify your Medicare journey and provide the support you deserve.


Understanding the differences between Medicare Part C and Part D is crucial for making informed healthcare decisions. Medicare Part C offers an all-in-one solution with additional benefits, while Part D focuses solely on prescription drug coverage. At Preferred Senior Benefits, we’re committed to helping seniors in Idaho and Utah choose the best Medicare options tailored to their needs. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards comprehensive healthcare coverage.

About Preferred Senior Benefits in Meridian, Idaho

Medicare is a federal program that provides healthcare coverage to individuals 65 years or older. Original Medicare coverage is broken into two parts—Part A and Part B—and is accepted by nearly every doctor and hospital in the country. Medicare Part A covers inpatient or hospital stays, while Part B covers outpatient or medical care. Together, Part A and B cover about 80% of the typical healthcare costs seniors face. This leaves a few significant gaps in coverage. Medicare Supplement (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage plans are policies designed to help extend coverage, lessen costs, and ultimately give beneficiaries peace of mind. If you or someone you know would like more information about how to enroll in Original Medicare or one of the Medicare Advantage plans, call now to speak with a licensed agent (208) 818-2523. We can’t wait to help you learn about your options.

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