What is Medicare?

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD). 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 C (Medicare Advantage Plans)
A type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.
 
Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)
Part D adds prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private-Fee-for-Service Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. These plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
 
- Sourced from Medicare.gov

Can you answer YES to at least one of the following statements?
  • I am 65 years of age or older.
  • I am under 65, but I have certain disabilities.
  • I have end-stage renal disease (kidney failure that requires a transplant or dialysis).

If so, it is likely that you are eligible for Medicare benefits.
 

Quick Facts on Medicare

  • Generally, a person can enroll in Medicare three months before and after their 65th birthday. You are known as a Medicare "beneficiary."

  • You will receive your Medicare card automatically if you are receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.

  • You can enroll in Medicare through the Social Security Administration by calling 1-800-772-1213.

  • Medicare has enrollment periods. You must enroll when you are eligible, however, if you are working you may delay enrollment in some situations.

  • You do not have to be currently receiving Social Security benefits to sign up for Medicare. They are separate benefits.

  • You may not need all parts of Medicare if you have insurance from your employer and plan to continue working.

  • September: Medicare & You Handbooks are be mailed to all beneficiaries.