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Medicare

4 things to know about Medicare:

  1. Medicare is a federal health insurance program.
  2. Medicare covers senior citizens and people with disabilities.
  3. Medicare comes in 4 parts: Parts A, B, C, and D.
  4. Medicare Parts A & B are funded by the government. Parts C & D are provided by private health insurance companies.

Medicare is a federal program that ensures citizens who are disabled or 65 and older have affordable health care options. Over 37 million people were enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B in 2015, according to 2016 data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

There are four parts of Medicare: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Each part covers different services. Medicare Part A and Part B are provided by the federal government and Part C and Part D are provided by private insurance companies.

Medicare terminology can get a little confusing. The different parts are also often referred to in the following ways:

  • Parts A & B combined: Original Medicare
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage
  • Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

What does Medicare cover?

Each part of Medicare provides different health care benefits:

More about Medicare benefits

Medicare Part A hospital insurance

Part A offers hospital insurance benefits and is the first half of Original Medicare. It covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, and skilled nursing facility care.

In 2017, the deductible for Medicare Part A hospital care is $1,316 per benefit period. A benefit period starts on the first day that you are admitted for inpatient care at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The benefit period ends when you haven’t received inpatient care for 60 consecutive days.

There is no limit to the number of benefit periods you may have, and the Part A hospital care deductible must be met again for each benefit period.

More about Medicare Part A

Medicare Part B medical insurance

Part B offers medical insurance benefits and is the second half of Original Medicare. It covers outpatient hospital care, preventative care, doctors services, and other services. You must have Part B to qualify for Medicare add-ons such as Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage.

The standard Medicare Part B premium in 2017 is $134 per month, but premiums can vary based on your income. The annual Medicare Part B deductible in 2017 is $183 per year.

More about Medicare Part B

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)

Part C is insurance that covers the same things as Original Medicare, but it is provided by private companies and usually includes additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, vision, dental, and wellness programs.

Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage

Part D is the Prescription Drug Coverage portion of Medicare. The plans are offered by private insurers and not the federal government. It is an optional add-on. The prescription drugs covered and the costs of Part D plans will vary based on the insurance provider.

Medicare eligibility and enrollment

In order to qualify for Medicare coverage, you must be at least 65 years old and a citizen (or permanent legal resident) of the United States. You also may qualify if you are under 65 and have a disability.

Most seniors will be enrolled in Original Medicare automatically. If not, applicants can apply during certain enrollment periods.

More about Medicare eligibility and enrollment

Related Information

Will Your Medicare Pay for a CPAP Machine?

Medicare can help cover the cost of a CPAP machine for a 3-month therapy trial. If a doctor states that it helps your sleep apnea, it may be covered longer.

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Does Medicare Cover Dental Services Like Cleanings and Fillings?

Dental coverage is a key component of health care, yet dental services are typically not covered under Original Medicare.

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Guide to Medicare and Dermatologist Check Ups

A dermatologist check up may be covered by Medicare Part B, but only if it is part of medically required detection or treatment for a skin condition or disease.

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Original Medicare Does Not Cover Insulin Pens

Diabetics aren't able to use Original Medicare to pay for insulin pens. A privately sold Medicare Part D plan, however, may provide such benefits.

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Does Medicare Part A and B Cover Dialysis Services?

Health care for End Stage Renal Disease is included in Medicare coverage. Medigap Supplement Insurance may reduce costs for dialysis services.

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Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage | How Are They Different?

Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans provide private health insurance benefits, but they are very different and you can't be enrolled in both.

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Compare Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

In most states, there are 10 Medicare Supplement Insurance plans to choose from. Compare each plan's benefits and get a free quote today.

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Medicare and Vasectomy | When It's Covered

If you're covered by Medicare and are looking to get a vasectomy, it is possible you will have to pay out of pocket for the procedure.

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Medicare and Liver Transplants

Original Medicare covers most of the costs associated with a liver transplant, but it leaves some coverage gaps behind.

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We and the licensed agents that may call you are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information contained on this website. This is not a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE or consult www.medicare.gov (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.