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What is Medicare?

Before you can decide what kind of Medicare coverage is right for you, it’s important to understand what Medicare is and how it works. Don’t worry, though – we’re here to guide you.

Medicare is federal health insurance available for eligible individuals age 65 and over (or) individuals under 65 with certain disabilities or medical conditions, such as End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare has different parts (referred to as Parts A, B, C and D) designed to address your healthcare needs.

Learn about Medicare eligibility and enrollment.


Original Medicare

Medicare Parts A and B are referred to as "Original Medicare" and include a defined set of benefits and services, including preventive services.

Medicare Part A

Part A covers inpatient care provided in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities, home health care services and hospice care for the terminally ill.

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Medicare Part B

Part B covers doctor services, outpatient care, medical supplies, durable medical equipment and preventive services.

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Other Medicare Coverage Options

Private insurance companies provide coverage options beyond Part A and Part B, including Medicare Advantage (Part C), Prescription Drug Coverage (Medicare Part D), and Medigap. These plans may include benefits Original Medicare doesn't cover and/or lower your healthcare expenses. Your health needs, finances and lifestyle are all important considerations when evaluating other Medicare coverage options.

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Medicare Advantage plans provide an alternative to Original Medicare. They offer Parts A and B services and often include additional benefits, such as wellness programs, hearing aids and eye exams. You must have Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

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Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)

Medicare Part D is Medicare prescription drug coverage. You can get Part D coverage from your Medicare Advantage plan or, if you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can get it through a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plan available in your area.

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Medigap (Medicare Supplement)

Medigap plans are state-regulated insurance policies for individuals who receive Medicare coverage through Original Medicare. Medigap plans vary in what they cover, but help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover and may cover other extra benefits. You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medigap plan.

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Medicare with Medicaid

Medicaid is a state-based health insurance program that is funded by both federal and state dollars and covers a set of benefits and services. The program helps low-income individuals and families, people with disabilities and the elderly. Medicaid eligibility differs from Medicare eligibility. Special rules apply for individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. For more information about individuals eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (referred to as Dual Eligible Beneficiaries), please visit the Medicare website.

To learn more about Medicaid, visit the Medicaid website or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and ask for the Medicaid telephone number for your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office. For TTY assistance, call 1-877-486-2048.