What is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers:
- Most people age 65 and older
- Certain people younger than 65 with disabilities
- People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
- People with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant
Learn more about eligibility.
Medicare is Divided into 4 Parts
- Part A – Hospital Insurance: Covers most inpatient hospital care, certain inpatient skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, certain home health care and certain hospice care.
- Part B – Medical Insurance: Covers a portion of outpatient medical services such as doctors’ services, outpatient hospital care, laboratory tests, outpatient physical and speech therapy, certain home health care, certain ambulance services, and certain medical equipment and supplies.
- Part C – Medicare Advantage: Allows you to enroll in and receive Medicare benefits through private health insurance plans.
- Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage: Provides prescription drug coverage through private drug plans.
Note: Medicare does not cover all medical services. It also does not pay 100% of certain covered services. Although Medicare pays for certain preventive services and covers most medically necessary services, the percentage of your out-of-pocket health care expenses is sizable and will increase as you age.
Examples of items Medicare does not cover:
- Hearing aids
- Dental care
- Chiropractic care
- Long-term care at home or in a nursing home, when the care you need is primarily personal care services/custodial care
- Health care outside the United States