What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease.

Who is eligible for Medicare?

Individuals aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system are eligible for Medicare. However, Medicare is also available for people with certain disabilities or with end-stage kidney disease, regardless of age.

What do the different parts of Medicare cover?

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Part D covers prescription drugs. Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A & B) and often includes Part D coverage as well.

When can I enroll in Medicare?

You can first enroll in Medicare during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. If you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a Part B premium penalty.

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage if you are 65 or older or have a severe disability. Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage if you have a very low income. Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

What is Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. They are offered by private companies approved by Medicare.

What is Medigap?

Medigap is Medicare Supplement Insurance that helps fill “gaps” in Original Medicare and is sold by private companies. Original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost for covered health care services and supplies. A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs.

Do I have to pay for Medicare?

While most people don’t have to pay a premium for Part A, everyone must pay for Part B if they want it. Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (prescription drug coverage) also come with their own premiums. Additionally, Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D all include out-of-pocket costs you must pay, like coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles.

How do I apply for Medicare?

You can apply for Medicare through the Social Security Administration’s website, by calling Social Security, or visiting your local Social Security office.

Can I have other health insurance and Medicare?

Yes, you can have other health insurance in addition to Medicare, such as a group health plan, TRICARE, Veteran’s benefits, or others. How they work together can vary.

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