What Is Medicare? 

what is medicare?

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. 

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