How Medicare Works
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2020 "Medicare and You" Handbook
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people over 65 years of age and people with certain disabilities or End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure).
There Are Four Parts to Medicare:
Part A – Hospital Insurance
Part B – Optional Medical Insurance
Part C – Optional Medicare Advantage Insurance
Part D – Optional Prescription Drug Insurance
Medicare Part A
Helps pay for care in hospitals, some skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and some health care. For most people, Part A is premium-free because they paid Medicare taxes.
Optional Medicare Part B
Optional coverage to help pay for doctors, outpatient hospital care, and some other medical services not covered by Part A. Part B monthly premium amounts are based on income and change each year. There may be a late-enrollment penalty.
Part C Optional Medicare Advantage Plan Monthly
An alternative to traditional Medicare, Part C is another way to get Medicare benefits. It combines Part A, Part B, and, sometimes, Part D (prescription drug) coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans are managed by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans must cover medically-necessary services. However, plans can charge different copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles for these services.
Part D Optional Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
This optional coverage may help lower an individual's prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future.