Get to know the Medicare basics, from terminology to eligibility.

Use this page as a quick reference guide to start talking in Medicare lingo and to better understand your options as you begin to shop plans.

The four parts of Medicare.

When we talk about Medicare, we try to be as specific as possible. That’s because Medicare is actually split into four distinct “parts” to provide flexibility in choosing the coverage you need.

Original Medicare is offered by the Federal Government and includes Part A & Part B

Part A (Hospital Care)

Part A helps cover inpatient care. It's available with no additional monthly premium for most people, and you pay a share of the cost for the services and benefits you use.

Part B (Medical Care)

Part B helps pay for visits to a doctor's office, outpatient care and a few other things. Part B has a monthly premium that is usually deducted directly from your Social Security check.

Note: Medicare Parts A & B (Original Medicare) do not include an out-of-pocket maximum limit per year or provide coverage for prescription drugs, extra dental, vision, or hearing care.

Medicare Part C & Part D refers to Medicare plans offered by private insurance companies.

Part C (Medicare Advantage)

Part C plans bundle all of your Part A and B benefits with extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing and fitness. Unlike Original Medicare, they have an out-of-pocket maximum limit so you can budget your healthcare costs. And many include Part D prescription drug coverage. Bright Health Medicare Advantage plans are available for as low as $0 a month.

Part D (Prescription Drugs)

Part D plans help pay for your prescription drugs. You can enroll in a Part D plan or get your drug coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D. Not all plans are the same, so it's important to be sure the plan you choose includes prescriptions you take.

Dive deeper into your Medicare options.

You can continue browsing the resources available on our site. But if you’d prefer a more personal approach, consider attending one of our New to Medicare or Community Meeting events.

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The basic elements of Medicare eligibility.

To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident who has lived in the United States for at least five years in a row. Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. Adults under the age of 65 with certain disabilities or medical conditions may also be eligible for Medicare. You can use’s eligibility calculator  for complete details on your eligibility, but make sure you come back here when you’re done to shop plans.

Commonly used Medicare Advantage cost terms.

As you compare plans, the following cost terms will help you evaluate which plan fits your coverage and budget needs.

  • Copay: After you pay deductibles, a copay is a fixed dollar amount you pay for the cost of a health-related service (like a provider visit) or supply (like medication). The insurer pays the rest.
  • Coinsurance: After you pay deductibles, coinsurance is the percent you pay for the cost of a fee or service. The insurer pays the rest.
  • Deductible: A set amount you must pay for healthcare before your insurance plan begins to pay.
  • Out-of-pocket maximum: The highest amount you will pay for medical services or supplies before your insurer pays the rest.
  • Penalty: A fee added to your monthly premium if you don’t join when you’re first eligible; applies to Part B or Part D only.
  • Premium: A monthly fee you may pay when you enroll in a plan. Not all plans have a premium.

As you explore your coverage options, you can also check your eligibility for the Extra Help program which provides assistance in paying for prescription drugs, premiums, deductibles, and more.

Ready to find your Medicare Advantage plan?
Compare plans and enroll.

Give us a call for some hands-on help. We're happy to answer questions and get you covered. 844-667-5502 (TTY: 711)

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Last Updated: Tues Oct 1 2019


Bright Health plans are HMOs and PPOs with a Medicare contract. Bright Health’s New York D-SNP plan is an HMO with a Medicare contract and a Coordination of Benefits Agreement with New York State Department of Health. Our plans are issued through Bright Health Insurance Company or one of its affiliates. Bright Health Insurance Company is a Colorado Life and Health company that issues indemnity products, including EPOs offered through Medicare Advantage. An EPO is an exclusive provider organization plan that may be written on an HMO license in some states and on a Life and Health license in some states, including Colorado. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call 844-667-5502 | TTY:711 for more information.

The formulary, pharmacy network, and/or provider network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary.

You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system.

Medicare beneficiaries may also enroll in Bright Health Medicare Advantage plans through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at 

Bright Health Medicare Advantage plans are plans with a network of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other providers. Out-of-network/noncontracted providers are under no obligation to treat Bright Health members, except in emergency situations.

Please call our customer service number or see your Evidence of Coverage for more information, including the cost-sharing that applies to out-of-network services. You must generally use network pharmacies to fill your prescriptions for covered Part D drugs.

Other providers are available in our network. Most network providers participate through our Care Partner.

Bright Advantage Special Care (HMO SNP) has been approved by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) to operate as a Special Needs Plan (SNP) through 2021 based on a review of Bright Advantage Special Care (HMO SNP) Model of Care.

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