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What is Medicare?


Medicare is the US Federal Government’s health insurance program for people age 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

Typically, Medicare covers 80% of your expenses, and for most procedures leaves you responsible with paying the additional 20% of out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare also has coinsurance, copayments or deductibles. For example, the standard initial Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance Deductible is $1,340 for each sixty (60) day benefit period (in 2018).

For these reasons, most people on Medicare decide to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan to help cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t.


Medicare has four basic Parts, each helps cover specific services: Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.

Part A and Part B were created in 1965 and are the “foundational” parts of Medicare.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) replaces Parts A and B with privately run insurance plans that can supplement the standard government run benefits; Part B is required to obtain Part C.

Part D was added in 2004 and includes the prescription drug plan.

Medicare Parts A and Part B cover most health care services one would need including doctor visits, diagnostic tests, hospital stays, surgeries and medications.

Just like traditional health insurance, there are limitations on each of these parts and generally they do not cover dental care, cosmetic services, routine vision, hearing and long-term custodial care due to chronic conditions or cognitive impairment.