What Is Medicare?
Medicare is a type of health insurance funded by the federal government.
In general, this health insurance program is open to all U.S. citizens and legal residents age 65 and older, but exceptions exist for individuals who are younger than 65.
To be eligible for Medicare coverage, people under age 65 need to meet certain requirements.
They must already be receiving Railroad Retirement or disability benefits from the Social Security Administration;
they must have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which is permanent kidney failure;
or they must have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Social Security Disability Insurance
If you’re eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and are under age 64,you become eligible to receive Medicare benefits after a 24-month waiting period that starts on the date you became disabled (your onset date).
This is different from the date that you started receiving SSDI benefit payments,
which may be five or more months after your onset date.
If you have ESRD or ALS, you may be eligible to begin receiving Medicare immediately, without the 24-month waiting period.
Parts of Medicare
Medicare has four parts.
Each one covers different types of medical services and offering different benefits.
If you opt for Original Medicare, you can get supplemental coverage to help with your deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Original Medicare – A,B,&D
Medicare Part A covers inpatient care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities as well as hospice and home health care.
Medicare Part B covers the services you receive from doctors and health care providers.
This includes outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment and preventive services like wellness visits.
Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage and helps lower your costs for prescription medications.
Part C – Medicare Advantage
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, works differently.
Those plans are available through private companies that bundle Parts A, B and D into one part.
These plans also often offer extra benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs.
They typically require you to visit healthcare practitioners and facilities that are in a specific network instead of any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare.