Medicare is health insurance for the following:
People 65 or 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)
The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services:
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 preventive services to help maintain your health and to keep certain illnesses from getting worse
Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage)
• Offers health plan options run 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 Prescriptions Drug Coverage)
• Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs
• May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future
• Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
A Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) is another Medicare health plan choice you may have as part of Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are offered by private companies approved by Medicare.
If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan will provide all of your Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).
Medicare pays a fixed amount for your care every month to the companies offering Medicare Advantage Plans. These companies must follow rules set by Medicare. However, each Medicare Advantage Plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and have different rules for how you get services (like whether you need a referral to see a specialist or if you have to go to only doctors, facilities, or suppliers that belong to the plan for non-emergency or non-urgent care). These rules can change each year.