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The basics of Medicare: what you need to know

Basics of Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, people with certain disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease.

To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the United States for at least five consecutive years.

Medicare is divided into four parts: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.

Part A covers inpatient hospital care, hospice care, and some home health care. It is generally premium-free for most people because they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes while working.

Part B covers doctor services, preventive services, and some medical equipment. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B.

Part C is an option for receiving your Medicare benefits through a private insurance company. This is called a Medicare Advantage plan.

Part D is the prescription drug coverage option for Medicare. You can enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan or one that is included in a Medicare Advantage plan.

You can enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, which starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65.

If you’re still working and have health insurance through your employer, you may not need to enroll in Medicare right away. But you should still sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid a late enrollment penalty.

Summary

In summary, Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, people with certain disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. It is divided into four parts, Part A, B, C, and D, each covering different aspects of health care needs. You can enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, which starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you’re still working and have health insurance through your employer, you may not need to enroll in Medicare right away, but it’s still recommended to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid a late enrollment penalty.

The basics of Medicare: what you need to know

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