Medicare generally provides health insurance for most people age 65 and older, and others who have received Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months, have end-stage renal disease or have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Medicare is similar to Social Security, since it is a federal program that you have paid into throughout your career. Just like Social Security, you want to maximize this benefit in retirement.
Medicare is split into four parts:
- Part A: Hospital insurance – covers the costs of health care at medical facilities. Offers coverage for medically necessary inpatient care at hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and some home health services.
- Part B: Medical insurance – covers the costs of health care outside medical facilities. Offers coverage for doctors’ services, hospital outpatient care, mental health and some preventative health care services.
- Part C: Medicare Advantage (MA) plans – policies you can purchase from certain private insurance carriers that provide the same (or more) coverage as Parts A and B.
- Part D: Prescription drug coverage offered through private Medicare-approved insurance companies.