Medicare Basics

Medicare is health insurance for:

  • People age 65 or older
  • People under age 65 with certain disabilities
  • People of any age with end-stage renal disease (ESRD: permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)

These different parts of Medicare help cover specific services:

Original Medicare

  • Is run by the Federal government
  • Provides your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage
  • You can join a Medicare prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) to add drug coverage
  • You can buy a Medigap (Medicare supplement insurance) policy sold by private insurance companies to help fill the gaps in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage (such as coinsurance, copayments and deductibles)

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)

Original Medicare helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility, hospice and home health care

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)

Original Medicare helps cover doctors’ services, outpatient care and home health care as well as some preventive services to help maintain your health and to keep certain illnesses from getting worse

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans, like an HMO or PPO)

A health coverage option run by private insurance companies approved by and under contract with Medicare:

  • Includes Medicare Parts A and B but can charge different amounts for certain services
  • May offer extra coverage and prescription drug coverage for an extra cost
  • Costs for items and services vary by plan
  • If you want drug coverage, you must get it through your plan (in most cases)
  • You don’t need a Medigap policy

Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage)

A prescription drug option run by private insurance companies approved by and under contract with Medicare helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future

active-arrow