Medicare is a federal health insurance program that was established in the United States in 1965. Now, Medicare provides coverage to many people, with over 60 million Americans enrolling in the program each year in the last few years.
Despite its long history and the essential role it plays in health care to this day, not everyone knows very much about Medicare. Today, we’re here to break down a few basic facts about Medicare for your information.
1. Medicare is mainly for seniors, but some younger people are eligible. Typically, people will enroll in Medicare when they turn 65 years old. However, some younger people with qualifying disabilities or end-stage renal disease may be eligible as well.
2. Medicare is not mandatory, but you are required to enroll if you want to keep certain benefits. You may choose to opt out of Medicare, but doing so means you will lose Social Security benefits, and you will need to pay back any Social Security payments you have already received. In addition, opting out and then choosing to enroll later subjects you to a penalty.
3. Medicare has four parts. Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D provide different health care benefits. For instance, Part A and Part B cover hospital insurance and preventive health care, respectively. Together, they’re known as “Original Medicare” that is provided by the federal government. Part C is known as “Medicare Advantage.” It provides the same benefits as Original Medicare, but it’s offered by private insurance companies. Part D is optional prescription drug coverage offered by private insurance companies.