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Medicare: What you need to know

Medicare is for people who are

  • age 65 or older,
  • under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
  • of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

Medicare consists of:

Part A Hospital Insurance - Most people don't pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital care, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home care.

Part B Medical Insurance - Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B, which helps cover doctors' services and outpatient care. It also covers other medical services that Part A doesn't cover, such as some physical and occupational therapists. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

Part D Medicare Drug Program – Part D is a program that helps pay for prescription drugs for people with Medicare who join a plan that includes Medicare prescription drug coverage. You can get a drug plan through a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage. These plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare.