What is Medicare?
Medicare is a health insurance program for:
- People age 65 or older.
- People under age 65 with certain disabilities.
- People of all ages with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant).
Medicare has four parts: Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (Medical Insurance - doctors' services, outpatient care, home health services, and other medical services), Part C (Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), Part D (prescription drug coverage). Most people don’t have to pay for Part A, and most people pay a monthly fee for Part B.
You can choose different ways to get the services covered by Medicare. Depending on where you live, you may have different choices. In most cases, when you first get Medicare, you are in Original Medicare. You may want to consider a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Or, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) that provides all your Part A, Part B, and often Part D coverage. You make a choice when you are first eligible for Medicare. Each year you can review your health and prescription needs and switch to a different plan in the fall.
If you have questions about Medicare, you can contact Medicare directly at www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).