What Is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance plan.
All U.S. citizens are eligible to receive Original Medicare at the age of 65. Original Medicare consists of Part A (inpatient hospital services) and Part B (outpatient medical services). Prescription drug coverage may be purchased separately under Part D Medicare, and special plans covering Original Medicare, Part D Medicare and more health services, also known as Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage plans), can be purchased from private insurance companies.
Once you know you qualify for Medicare, you can evaluate your coverage options.
To be eligible for Medicare, you first have to be a U.S. citizen or legal resident residing in the U.S. for at least 5 years. If you meet that criteria and have worked for at least 10 years, you automatically become enrolled in Medicare Part A at the age of 65, which will cover emergency hospital stays. You also become eligible to enroll in Medicare Part B, covering preventive care and doctor’s visits, for a monthly premium.
Certain younger people may qualify for Medicare coverage if they have certain disabilities or life-threatening diseases. If you are under the age of 65, you may qualify for Medicare if you have:
- ALS (also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”)
- End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- Received Social Security Disability Income
(SSDI) for 24 months