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what is medicare

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for:

  • People who are 65 or older
  • Certain younger people with disabilities
  • People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD)

What are the parts of Medicare?

The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services:

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
    Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
    Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)
    Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs (including many recommended shots or vaccines).

Part A & Part B Premiums

Most people don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A.If you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A, you can buy Part A.Everyone pays a monthly premium for Part B.

How does Medicare work?

With Medicare, you have options in how you get your coverage. Once you enroll, you’ll need to decide how you’ll get your Medicare coverage. There are 2 main ways:Original MedicareMedicare Advantage

Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D)

Medicare drug coverage helps pay for prescription drugs you need. To get Medicare drug coverage, you must join a Medicare-approved plan that offers drug coverage (this includes Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage Plans with drug coverage).

Learn more about how to get Medicare drug coverage.

Each plan can vary in cost and specific drugs covered, but must give at least a standard level of coverage set by Medicare. Medicare drug coverage includes generic and brand-name drugs. Plans can vary the list of prescription drugs they cover (called a formulary) and how they place drugs into different “tiers” on their formularies.

Learn more about Medicare drug coverage.

Plans have different monthly premiums. You’ll also have other costs throughout the year in a Medicare drug plan. How much you pay for each drug depends on which plan you choose.

Learn about your costs for Medicare drug coverage.How does Medicare work with my other insurance?

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