What Is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health coverage for seniors 65 and older, younger people with disabilities, and a few more populations.
To learn more about Medicare qualifications, see our guide titled Who is eligible for Medicare.
Note: People often confuse Medicare with Medicaid. While both are health insurance plans, Medicare is a federal program that you typically qualify for due to your age. Medicaid is a state program that you qualify for due to low-income.
What are the parts of Medicare?
There are 4 parts to Medicare; Part A, B, C, and D. In this section we will briefly discuss each part.
- Medicare Part A – This is known as hospital insurance. This will cover inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health care. Most people who have worked a majority of their life will not pay anything for Part A.
- Medicare Part B – This coverage pays for outpatient services, your regular doctor visits, medical supplies, and preventative services. Most people will pay a monthly premium for Part B Medicare, however, there is an exception if you are considered low-income via something called a Medicare Savings Plan.
Note: The combination of Medicare Part A and B is sometimes referred to as Original Medicare.
- Medicare Part C – Medicare Part C is a private Medicare coverage. Some people refer to Part C as Medicare Advantage. You sign up with a private health insurance company like Amerigroup, Cigna, or Humana and they manage your Medicare coverage. You receive all the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B, but they also provide additional services like dental, vision, and rides to appointments.
- Medicare Part D – This form of Medicare covers your prescriptions. In addition to helping you with the cost of your medications, Part D can also cover shots and vaccines.
The takeaways about from this guide that you should know about Medicare are:
- Medicare is a health insurance plan for seniors and those with disabilities.
- In many cases turning 65 is the event that makes them eligible for Medicare
- Medicare is made up of 4 parts which are Part A, B, C and D
- Parts A and B are sometimes referred to as Original Medicare
If you are approaching 65 and need to apply, see our guide titled How To Apply for Medicare. The guide provides you with 3 ways to apply as well as a listing of Medicare offices in Houston.