What is Medicare Advantage? | AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare®
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Medicare Part C Coverage – Medicare Advantage Plans

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What is Medicare Part C?

Medicare Part C is also called Medicare Advantage. It is an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B).

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies contracted by Medicare.

You must be enrolled in both Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage plan. You will receive your benefits through the plan instead of through Original Medicare.

Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

Learn how Medicare Advantage plans offer hospital and medical coverage along with additional benefits that you don’t get with Original Medicare, for example, vision, hearing and prescription drug coverage.

What's covered by Medicare Advantage plans?

By law, Medicare Advantage plans must provide at least the same coverage that's offered by Original Medicare Parts A and B. Plans may also include a variety of additional benefits—all combined in a single plan.


All the benefits of Medicare Part A, except hospice care

Hospital stays

Skilled nursing care    

Home health care    


All the benefits of Medicare Part B

Doctor visits

Outpatient care

Screenings and shots

Lab tests


Prescription drug coverage is included in many
Medicare Advantage plans, but not all.



Extras may be bundled with the plan, such as:

Eye care


Wellness services

Nurse helpline


What's not covered by Medicare Advantage plans?

Medicare Advantage plans do not help with the cost of:

  • Hospice care. Original Medicare Part A pays for hospice care even when you get your benefits through a private Medicare Advantage plan. The plan continues to cover health care services not related to the hospice care.
  • Some prescription drugs that might be covered under a standalone Medicare prescription drug plan. Each plan has a formulary that lists the drugs it covers.

What are the coverage limits with Medicare Advantage plans?

Each Medicare Advantage plan sets its own coverage terms and limits. It's important to carefully review the terms and limits of any plans you are interested in.

What providers can you see with Medicare Advantage plans?

With Medicare Advantage coordinated care    plans, you choose a primary care doctor who can help manage your care. You may need your doctor to refer you to other providers or specialists if you need additional care.

Many plans have network    providers. You may have to pay more for services you receive from providers outside the network.

Certain types of Medicare Advantage plans allow you to see any Medicare-eligible provider who accepts the terms, conditions and payment rates of the plan.

All Medicare Advantage plans provide nationwide coverage for emergency care, urgent care and renal dialysis.

What is a service area?

A service area is the geographic area where a plan is available. This is usually a county, state or region. You must live in a plan’s service area in order to enroll in that plan.

You may have many Medicare Advantage plans to choose from, and each plan is different. It’s important to look carefully at the specific benefits offered by plans you are considering.

What do you want to do next?


Or learn about Medicare Advantage plan costs

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