Understanding all of the "moving parts" to Medicare can sometimes be a confusing task.  In this section, we have a Medicare breakdown to all the "Parts" and how they work along with some of the most frequently asked questions.

 

On July 30, 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Title 18 of the Social Security Act, which is also known as Medicare.  When the law was passed, almost half of Americans over 65 did not have health insurance and many could not find affordable medical care.

 

Medicare is a federally funded national health insurance program.

It primarily covers seniors 65 years and older, although younger

people with disabilities may also be eligible.

 

According to CMS, Medicare provides health insurance for more

than 47 million Americans; about 38 million seniors and about 7 million

people under 65 with certain types of disabilities.  These disabilities include end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

 

If you (or your spouse) have contributed payroll taxes to Medicare throughout your working life you are eligible for Medicare when you reach 65, regardless of your income or health.

 

Medicare is not an all-encompassing program; each "Part" serves a specific function.  Hospital insurance is covered by Part A, while doctor's bills and other medical procedures are covered by Part B.  Together, these "Parts" are referred to as Original Medicare. Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan, and Part D offers prescription drug coverage because prescriptions are not covered under Original Medicare.

 

Part C and Part D are both offered through private insurance companies.  Some beneficiaries may combine Parts A, B, and C, while others may opt to combine Parts A, B and D along with a Medicare Supplement. 

 

A Medicare supplement, or "Medigap," is offered by private insurance companies and cover the out-of-pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare.

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