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What are the parts of Medicare?

So, you want to know what Medicare is? It might seem confusing but don’t worry, you’re not alone. At Aetna we’re all about helping you figure it out, so let’s get started. 

How does Medicare work? Well that’s easy. Here are the basics.

There are four parts to Medicare, starting with Original Medicare, which makes up the first two parts. Part A and Part B.

Part A, is your hospital insurance.

This helps pay for when you stay over in a hospital, need a skilled nursing facility, and hospice care.

Part B? This is your medical insurance.  

This covers visits to your doctor, the costs of lab testing, in and out hospital treatment, and some medical equipment … like wheelchairs.

Which brings us to Part D. 

This is a prescription drug plan offered by private insurance companies that covers more of the medications you may need, at better prices.

What’s that? Oh … no, we didn't forget Part C.

At Aetna, we think this is pretty important stuff, because it picks up where Original Medicare leaves off.

This is the Medicare Advantage insurance offered by Aetna. You still get all the coverage of basic Medicare A and B, the potential to keep your doctors, and perhaps even more benefits.

Since all plans are a little different, keep an eye out for mailers explaining what extra benefits Aetna may have for you!

Aetna even provides personalized health resources. For instance, our Resources For Living® program, our 24/7 nurse hotline and personalized health management support.

These programs are a great addition to your doctors and care givers.

They may even increase your emotional, social and physical well-being. These programs are in addition to Original Medicare benefits.

And Aetna Medicare Advantage even helps keep it all simple with one card and one plan to take advantage of all your benefits.

Not only is it easy to make the switch, but you get Aetna’s well-known, helpful customer service. This means a real person located here in the U.S. is available to help you at any time with anything. Some plans even have a dedicated phone line for your specific group.


So, there you have it, the ABD’s and C of Medicare.


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What are the parts of Medicare?

The first step to get the most out of your loved one’s health care coverage is to know the parts of Original Medicare. Watch this short video to learn more.

What is Medicare Advantage?

What is Medicare Advantage?

You may be wondering about the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage (Part C). To put it simply, Medicare Advantage includes everything that Original Medicare (Part A or hospital benefits and Part B or medical benefits) covers and may add additional benefits or services, such as:

  • Prescription drug coverage (Part D)
  • A fitness benefit or wellness programs
  • Nurse support and more

Medicare Advantage plans are run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies, such as Aetna.

How does Medicare enrollment work?

Happy Birthday!

This is a special one, because we get to talk about your Medicare benefits and enrollment.

All of you who are joining Medicare can now make some choices, and if you aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place, Aetna is here to help.

You have three months before your 65th birthday, and three months afterwards, to sign up for Medicare, Parts A and B.  

This is required to get Medicare Advantage.

The good news is, you’re automatically enrolled in part A, but you must go online at, or visit your Social Security office to enroll in Part B.

And before we dive right in to learn exactly what Medicare covers, watch our easy to understand and informative Medicare 101 video.

By now, you’ve seen lots of TV commercials and bulk mail, mostly from insurance companies telling you how wonderful their Medicare Advantage plan is and why you should join it… that's pretty much what the enrollment period is all about.

Hopefully you now understand what Original Medicare is… and isn’t, and you may decide you need more insurance.

About one month before your 65th birthday, a detailed outline for your Aetna Medicare Advantage plan will arrive in the mail.

This plan picks up where Medicare leaves off. You receive everything original Medicare offers, in addition to some great extras.

The Aetna Medicare Advantage plan gives you access to personalized nurse support, wellness programs, and social programs. You can see any doctor that participates with Original Medicare who is willing to treat you, so you'll likely be able to keep the doctors you have now with no interruption in your care needs.

So, there it is, Medicare enrollment in a nut shell. Congratulations on your retirement, and we hope you enjoy your golden years in health.

We now return you back to your regularly scheduled birthday cake and presents.

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How does Medicare enrollment work?

Turning 65 is important when it comes time to enroll in Medicare. But you’ll also need to know how Medicare enrollment works. See what your loved one needs to do to make sure they’re enrolled in their former employer’s or union’s Medicare Advantage plan.


What’s included with Aetna Medicare Advantage plans?


All Aetna Medicare Advantage plans offered through a former employer or union include a variety of resources to help your loved one live their best lives in retirement. These programs include:



Our Resources For Living program can help you better manage your needs, or those of a loved one. It gives you access to caring consultants who help you find services and resources in your community. And it’s available at no extra cost.

Resources For Living is available to all Aetna Medicare Advantage* plan members and people like you who help them with health care decisions — and it’s easy to use. Simply call 1-866-370-4842, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. all time zones, and tell us what you need. Our consultants will research and give you options. The call is free. You pay for any services you choose to use.

Here are just a few examples of services we can help you find:

Help at home

  • Cleaning, cooking and yard care
  • Short- and long-term housing options
  • Pet care
  • Home maintenance and car repairs

Caregiver support

  • Support groups for caregivers
  • Short-term caregiver respite care
  • Help with daily caregiving needs
  • Child care

Social and other activities

  • Classes for skills and interests
  • Community transportation
  • Recreational activities
  • Opportunities to volunteer

To reach a Resources For Living consultant, just call 1-866-370-4842, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. all time zones.

*Resources For Living is not available for Aetna Prescription only or Medicare Supplement plan members.

Does your loved one need help with their health at home? Encourage them to sign up for a Healthy Home Visit.

Once we schedule the appointment, a licensed and board-certified nurse practitioner or doctor will go to their home to provide an assessment.

This Healthy Home Visit takes place at no extra cost. During the visit, the health care provider will also check the home for potential issues that may increase chances of falling.

What does the Healthy Home Visit involve?

Your loved one can use this yearly visit to:

  • Ask health care questions
  • Review their medicines
  • Update their medical history
  • Discuss issues they may have getting the health resources they need
  • Discuss concerns they may have to ensure that they can move around safely in their home

The visit lasts about an hour. It includes a limited, noninvasive physical exam.

If needed, the nurse practitioner or doctor may recommend further evaluation. Your loved one’s doctor will get a report.

Sometimes, your loved one needs a quick answer to a health question. Maybe their concern can’t wait until they see their doctor. They can talk to our registered nurses, day or night, to help:

  • Decide whether to visit a doctor or urgent care center
  • Understand their symptoms
  • Manage chronic conditions
  • Learn about treatment options and medical procedures

They can just call the number on their Aetna member ID card anytime to talk to a nurse.

Find out more

To find out what programs your loved one has available, call the number on the back of their Aetna ID card.

Caregiving resources

Caregiving resources

Home safety checklists, tools to help manage medication dosages, local community support, sample care plans — find this information and more in our resources below. They’re available for download at no cost to you.

How to help your loved one achieve their best health

How to help your loved one achieve their best health

For Christopher Ciano of Aetna Medicare, helping people navigate the health system is personal. As the caregiver for his 91-year-old parents, Ciano shares advice on how to manage the daily challenges of supporting your loved one’s health needs.

Healthy aging and caregiving video

Kitchen Table Talk:  Healthy aging and caregiving with Christopher Ciano, senior vice president for Aetna Medicare

Being a caregiver to my 91-year-old parents has really opened my eyes. And not only has it given me perspective on how challenging it can be and how much help is needed in many situations, it’s also allowed me to reflect on what could we do better at Aetna each and every day to make our members live healthier lives and deal with the aging process.

How caregivers can help their loved ones

The biggest challenges we have today is the flow of information you know from providers to the Medicare members, and I could see my parents struggling with interpreting what things meant and what they were supposed to do.

One of the things that I did that has helped a lot along the way was I created a binder of information. Basically I carry that binder everywhere I go. And in that binder I had their health insurance information, their list of medications, their health history, their living will and health directives. That information is pretty critical, and it helps providers assess what’s going on, what was the history. It’s been a great resource and something we actually encourage members to create and organize in their own homes.

The best advice I could give a Medicare beneficiary who’s trying to look for a Medicare plan is utilize your family and friends or a trusted advisor to make sure that you’re asking the right questions about the benefits, you know are my doctors covered in the program, how much out-of-pockets costs for certain drugs that I use.

What Aetna is doing to help our members and their caregivers

Aetna’s vision for our Medicare members is to help them on their health care journey, and our goal is really to help them achieve their own health ambitions, and that’s very personalized. We find the biggest challenge is that as you age, sometimes you lose your community and you lose your way. So we’re trying to put our arms around our members and think about it in a holistic way.

Chris Ciano


I think the most instrumental part of healthy aging is connection with the community and friends. Those emotional connections are as important as the health connections.

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Aetna Medicare is an HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract.  Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call the number on your ID card for more information.

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