What is Medicare?

Medicare is a social insurance plan administered by the Federal Government that provides health insurance coverage to people who meet any of the following criteria:

  • people age 65 and older
  • people under age 65 with certain disabilities
  • people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease

Medicare is divided into two main parts: Part A and Part B. Part A covers healthcare costs associated with inpatient services, while Part B covers costs associated with outpatient services. A more full description of these parts is available by clicking on the above links.
In 1997 Medicare launched a new way to obtain Medicare Benefits. In this model, a private insurance company is paid a reimbursement fee from Medicare to administer healthcare benefits. This part of Medicare is called Part C. Please click on the link for more information.
Up until 2006 this would have been the end of our discussion. However, that was the year that the Medicare Modernization Act went into effect and created coverage for prescription drugs. This coverage, called Part D, is similar to Part C in that it also is administered entirely by private insurance companies.

elderly couple talking