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Medicare 101

What Is Medicare?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published October 31, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare as the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, and certain younger people with disabilities. But what else is there to know about it? Below is some additional information to help you better understand Medicare. 

Medicare Has Four Parts

Medicare is made up of four parts: Parts A, B, C and D.

  1. Medicare Part A covers hospital and other inpatient care. Most people qualify for "premium-free" Part A after having worked and paid taxes for a certain amount of time. 
  2. Medicare Part B is optional and provides medical insurance that covers doctors visits, lab tests and many other outpatient services along with medical equipment. Part A and Part B together are referred to as Original Medicare. 
  3. Part C is better known as Medicare Advantage, and is a set of private health insurance plans designed as an alternative to Original Medicare. These plans must provide at least the same minimum benefits as Original Medicare and may also offer additional benefits
  4. Part D is the program's prescription drug benefit.

You May Pay Monthly For Coverage

All U.S. citizens become eligible for Medicare at the age of 65. The differentiating factor is how much you might pay for it.

Most people receive Part A for free because either they or their spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If you or your spouse have not paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, you will most likely have to pay a monthly premium for Part A.

Part B comes with a standard premium ($174.70 per year in 2024), while Part C and Part D are sold by private insurance companies and therefore come with a range of premiums.

Your Coverage Can Be Supplemented

Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, is insurance that helps cover some of the out-of-pocket costs of Original Medicare. There are generally up to 10 standardized Medigap plans to choose from in most states, and each plan provides a unique set of benefits. 

Call today to speak with a licensed insurance agent at 1-800-995-4219.

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