Medicare has been protecting the health and well-being of American families since it was originally signed into law in 1965. Over the years, Medicare has grown and adapted to better meet the changing needs of the public.
Medicare is health insurance for people age 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
Although it is a program of the federal government, other non-government organizations, such as health insurance companies work within Medicare’s guidelines and regulations to provide optional levels of coverage. These optional plans include Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans.
There are four “parts” to Medicare, and it’s important that you know what each part covers. You’ll hear and read a lot about these, especially Part A, Part B, and Part D. (You’ll hear about Part C, too, but the name “Medicare Advantage” is more commonly used for Part C plans).
In addition to the summary about each part below, you can learn even more about Medicare by requesting or downloading the government’s booklet, Medicare & You, which is published and updated every calendar year. The booklet is free.