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Medicare Facts

Medicare is health insurance for the following:

  • Individuals age 65 or older
  • Individuals under age 65 who are entitled to various Social Security Disability benefits
  • Individuals of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease

Medicare has several parts:

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
    • Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice and home health care.
    • Most people don't have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A because they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while working in the United States. If you don't automatically get premium-free Part A, you may still be able to enroll, and pay a premium.
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
    • Helps cover doctors' and other health care providers' services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, and home health care.
    • Helps cover some preventative services.
    • Most people pay up to the standard monthly Medicare Part B premium.
    • Note: You may want to get coverage that fills gaps in Original Medicare coverage. You can choose to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy from a private company.

  • Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage)
    • Offers health plan options by Medicare-approved private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage Plans are a way to get the benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B. Most Medicare Advantage Plans cover Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).
    • Some Medicare Advantage Plans may include extra benefits for an extra cost.
  • Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage)
    • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.
    • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs.
    • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies.
    • Costs and benefits vary by plan.
    • Note: Help is available. If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for help paying your Medicare health care and/or prescription drug coverage costs. For more information, go to, you can call Social Security at (800) 772-1213, or apply for help at your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office.

If you have questions about Medicare, go to, or you can call (800) 633-4227. TTY users should call (877) 486-2048.

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