Medicare is health insurance for the following:
- People 65 or older
- People under 65 with certain disabilities
- People of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) — permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant
The Different Parts of Medicare
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
- Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and home health care.
- Most people don’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A because they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while working in the United States. If you don’t automatically get premium-free Part A, you may still be able to enroll, and pay a premium.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
- Helps cover doctors’ and other health care providers’ services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, and home health care.
- Helps cover some preventive services.
- Most people pay up to the standard monthly Medicare Part B premium ($104.90 for 2013).
Note: You may want to get coverage that fills gaps in Original Medicare coverage. You can choose to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy from a private company.
Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage)
- Offers health plan options run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage Plans are a way to get the benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B. Most Medicare Advantage Plans cover Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).
- Some Medicare Advantage Plans may include extra benefits for an extra cost.
Medicare Part D
- Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs
- May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs
- Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
- Costs and benefits vary by plan