Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older and younger people with certain disabilities and End Stage Renal Disease. Understanding Medicare may be confusing for some people, but the good news is you can learn everything you need to know about Medicare online — from the different parts of Medicare, to the benefits offered, to enrollment.
Medicare is made up of four parts: Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.
Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and limited home health care.
Part B (Medical Insurance) covers outpatient care, doctors’ services, preventive services, medical supplies and other services.
Medicare Part A and Part B make up what is known as “Original Medicare”
Part C (Medicare Advantage plans) is an alternative to Original Medicare that allows you to receive the same benefits as Part A and Part B through a private health insurance plan.** Medicare Advantage plans may also include other benefits, like vision, dental and prescription drug coverage.
Part D is Medicare’s prescription drug coverage. You can receive drug coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan, or through a standalone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) that can be used in conjunction with Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans that don’t include drug coverage.
Some people are automatically enrolled in Medicare and do not have to worry about manually enrolling the program. You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday or on your 25th month of disability if:
If you aren’t automatically enrolled in Medicare, you’ll need to actively enroll yourself during the initial enrollment period (IEP). Your IEP begins three months before your birthday month, includes your birthday month, and ends three months later.
If you don’t sign up on time, you could incur a late enrollment penalty, so it’s important to determine when you are eligible. You can learn more about Medicare eligibility and enrolling in Medicare online through the Social Security Administration’s website.
If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan through a private insurance company, call a licensed insurance agent at TTY Users: 711.