Medicare Basics

Learn How Medicare Works

What is Medicare?

Medicare is health insurance for:

  • People 65 and older
  • People under 65 with certain disabilities
  • People of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

(Permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)

What are the different parts of Medicare?

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover:

  • Inpatient care in hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover:

  • Services from doctors and other health care providers
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Some preventive services

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage):

  • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
  • Includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B
  • Usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) as part of the plan
  • May include extra benefits and services for an extra cost

Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage):

  • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs
  • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future

Source:  “Medicare & You”.  Department of Health and Human Services-USA.  2013: Sect 1, 13.

What are my Medicare coverage choices?

There are two main ways to get your Medicare coverage —  Original Medicare (A&B) or Medicare Advantage Plan. Use these steps to help you decide which way to get your coverage:


Also see our blog posts on the topic of Medicare.