What is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people age 65 years and older, people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). To qualify, an individual must either be a US citizen or an alien who has been legally admitted for permanent residence and has lived in the United States for five continuous years prior to applying for coverage.
What are Medicare Parts A, B, C and D?
Medicare Part A - Hospital insurance coverage which also covers rehabilitation services, skilled nursing facilities, home health care and hospice services. Individuals who are 65 and older and have worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years are eligible for premium-free Part A benefits. Individuals with ESRD or ALS are also eligible for premium-free Part A.
Medicare Part B - Supplementary healthcare insurance covering a broad range of physician and specialty services such as outpatient care, Durable Medical Equipment (DME), certain treatments and preventative care. Those who qualify for Part A also qualify for Part B. There is a monthly premium for Part B coverage and Part B coverage is optional, however there are penalties associated with declining coverage.
Medicare Part C - Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies and available to those with Medicare Parts A and B and living within the plan's service area. Part C coverage is available to those who have both Medicare Parts A and. Some Medicare Part C plans have little or no monthly premiums or deductibles.
Medicare Part D - Prescription drug coverage for those with Medicare Parts A and/or B and living within the service area. There is a monthly premium for a Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and Medicare beneficiaries may face penalties when there has been a lapse in credible coverage.