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Medicare Advantage inquiries call 1-800-930-2836 (TTY 711)

Medicare Supplement inquiries call 1-833-922-2893

What is Medicare?

Created in 1965, Medicare started with just two parts—Part A and Part B. Later on, additional parts—Part C and Part D—were added as the needs of Medicare beneficiaries changed.

It's important to understand that Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) does not cover all of your medical expenses. Learn about other options that are available and why they may be right for you.

Part A

Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
  • Usually there is no monthly premium for Part A coverage.
  • You pay a Part A deductible and coinsurance, which are out-of-pocket expenses, when you receive care. You are responsible for paying these expenses—unless you have a separate health insurance plan to cover them.

Part B

Part B (Medical Insurance) covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventative services.
  • Part B is optional coverage.
  • You pay a monthly Part B premium.
  • For most services, you pay a calendar year Part B deductible and coinsurance—unless you have insurance for those expenses.

Part D

Also called Medicare Part D plans or PDPs, these plans help people with Medicare more easily afford prescription drugs. Only offered by private insurance companies, PDPs can be combined with Original Medicare or a Medicare Supplement plan to reduce your cost for medications.
  • Part D is sold only through private organizations, like insurers, are contracted with Medicare.
  • Coverage can be purchased either as a "stand-alone" prescription drug plan (PDP) or may be included with a Part C Medicare Advantage plan. Plans that combine medical coverage and prescription drug coverage are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans.

Part C

Also known as Medicare Part C, these plans offer all the benefits of Original Medicare and more! Most Medicare Advantage plans include medical and prescription coverage as well as additional benefits like dental, vision and hearing.
  • Part C Medicare Advantage (MA) plans replace Original Medicare with coverage offered by private organizations, like insurers, that are contracted with Medicare.
  • These plans offer everything covered by Original Medicare Part A and Part B, plus they often include prescription drug coverage and coverage of certain services not paid by Original Medicare.
  • Premiums and deductibles vary by plan.
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What Medicare doesn’t pay and why many people choose to buy additional coverage

Unless you qualify for a program to help pay your Medicare costs, you will have to pay all these costs yourself. As mentioned earlier, there’s a monthly premium for Part B, which is typically deducted from your Social Security check each month. Both Medicare Part A and Part B have deductibles and coinsurance that you must pay. Each year, these costs are reviewed, and often adjusted, by the federal government.

It’s important to remember that Medicare does NOT cover most prescription drugs and you may need additional prescription drug coverage.


Learn about our plans

Medicare beneficiaries may also enroll in BlueCross Total (PPO), BlueCross Total Value (PPO), BlueCross Basic (MA only PPO), BlueCross Secure (HMO), BlueCross Rx Essential, BlueCross Rx Value (PDP) and BlueCross Rx Plus (PDP) through the CMS Online Enrollment Center at

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is a Medicare Advantage PPO and HMO plan with a Medicare contract. BlueCross Rx Essential, BlueCross Rx Value and BlueCross Rx Plus are stand-alone prescription drug plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in BlueCross Total, BlueCross Total Value, BlueCross Blue Basic, BlueCross Secure, BlueCross Rx Essential, BlueCross Rx Value or BlueCross Rx Plus depends on contract renewal.

You must continue to pay your Part B premium. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.  Benefits, premiums, copayments or coinsurance may change on January 1 of each year.

Out-of-network/non-contracted providers are under no obligation to treat BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Medicare members, except in emergency situations. For a decision about whether we will cover an out-of-network service, we encourage you or your provider to ask us for a pre-service organization determination before you receive the service. Please call Customer Service or see your Evidence of Coverage for more information, including the cost-sharing that applies to out-of-network services.

Current members should call Customer Service at 1-855-204-2744 for additional information. (TTY users should call 711). Hours are seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 1 to Mar. 31.  Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. all other times. 

Last Updated Date: 10.01.2021