Medicare is a nationwide health insurance program developed by the the U.S. federal government to provide health care for seniors and disabled citizens. The program is especially designed for seniors over 65 but also younger citizens affected by disabilities. Those under 65 can reap the benefits of Medicare if they are affected by physical disabilities, kidney failure, or Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
The program is divided into four main parts: Part A for hospital insurance, Part B for medical insurance, Part C for Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D for coverage on prescription drugs. For more information on Medicare, please visit SocialSecurity.gov.
Part A covers hospital expenses including meals, testing, supplies as well as a semi-private room. Hospital insurance also pays for health care at home including physical and speech therapy. There is usually no monthly premium for Part A, as most people paid Medicare taxes while they are still working.
Part B pays for outpatient visits, physician visits and other health care expenses for seniors and disabled U.S. citizens. It covers medical services like blood transfusions, vaccinations, X-rays, diagnostic tests, dialysis, chemotherapy, and ambulance transportation. This part of Medicare requires a monthly premium.
Part C, or Medicare Advantage Plans, are customized health care plans that are geared towards seniors with specific medical needs, such as diabetes. These plans require private insurance providers for coverage, and some also team up with PPOs (preferred provider organizations) and HMOs (health maintenance organizations). The plans must be approved by Medicare.
Part D entails coverage for prescription drugs and is administered by private insurance providers. Those seeking coverage with Part D are required to pay a premium as well as a deductible.
For more information about the four types of Medicare, please visit Medicare.gov.