What Is Medicare?

MEDICARE1

People are often confused with what Medicare really is, well we’re here to help you understand a little better.

The US government’s national health insurance program for people aged 65 and older who have worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment, and who are citizens or permanent residents of the US. It is the nation’s largest health insurance program, providing coverage in 2003 for 41 million Americans who were at least age 65 or who had a disability. Medicare coverage consists of four parts, labeled Parts A—D.

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).

In addition, eligibility requires that an individual is a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident for 5 continuous years and is eligible for Social Security benefits with at least ten years of payments contributed into the system.

Medicare has 2 Basic Parts:

The program consists of two main parts for hospital and medical insurance (Part A and Part B) and two additional parts that provide flexibility and prescription drugs (Part C and Part D).

Medicare Summary:

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 it, you are in Original Medicare. You may want to consider a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), to add drug coverage if your plan does not cover it. 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.