Medicare and Medicaidtwo U. The Medicare program covers most persons age 65 or older and consists of four related health insurance plans: a hospital insurance plan called Part A ; a supplementary medical insurance plan Part B ; and two privately run plans, Medicare Advantage Part C and prescription drug coverage Part D.

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The hospital plan is financed through Social Security payroll taxes. It helps pay the cost of inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing home care, and certain home health services. The plan meets most of the cost of hospital bills for up to 90 days for each episode of illness.

The patient must pay a one-time fee called a deductible react checkbox onchange hospital care for the first 60 days in a benefit period and an additional daily fee called a co-payment for hospital care for the following 30 days; Medicare covers the rest of the expenses.

The hospital plan also pays for skilled care in a nursing facility for days if such care follows a period of hospitalization within 30 days. This nursing care is free for the first 20 days after hospitalization, with the patient required to make a co-payment for any of the next 80 days.

A person is thus eligible for 90 days of hospitalization and days of nursing care in any benefit period. In addition, home health visits by nurses or medical technicians are covered by Medicare, as is hospice care for the terminally ill. A patient becomes eligible for Medicare benefits again anytime he has gone for 60 consecutive days without receiving skilled care in a hospital or nursing facility; his reentry into such a facility marks the start of a new benefit period.

Persons who enroll in the plan pay a small deductible for any medical costs incurred above that amount and then pay a regular monthly premium. Almost all people entitled to the hospital plan also enroll in the supplementary medical plan. Medicare Advantage plans Part C are run by private insurance companies approved and subsidized by Medicare. They must cover all services that the original Medicare covers except hospice care, but they can offer extra coverage, sometimes at additional cost, for vision, hearing, and dental, and they may have different rules as to how enrollees receive services.

Coverage and costs vary for each plan, but all must provide at least the standard level of coverage set by Medicare. The legislation enacting Medicare was passed in under the administration of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson and represented the culmination of a year legislative debate over a program originally sponsored by Pres.

Harry S. Amendments to the program passed in extended coverage to long-term disabled persons and those suffering from chronic kidney disease. Part C was enacted in and went into effect in It was later restructured with Part D, and both were enacted in and went into effect in Get eHealth's online recommendation of the right plan to fit your needs.

Browse and compare plans in your area on the eHealth Medicare website. Our licensed insurance agent will help you find a plan that meet your financial and medical needs. View plans from the Insurance Companies in your area, compare prices, prescription drug costs to find a plan that works for you. More than 3 million customers served since Before speaking with her, I was up in the air about what direction to take. Now I feel good about my plan and future health care needs.

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This agreement is not a condition of enrollment. Serving a lead means engaging with the customer telephonically or following online consent for eHealthInsurance Services, Inc. In business since Account Center Sign out. Unsure about your Medicare plan options? Ready to compare Medicare plan options? View plans on eHealth eHealthinsurance Services operates Medicare. View Plans on eHealth No Thanks.

Stay on Medicare. Our Services Medicare. We have partnerships with numerous Medicare insurance companies, and offer more than Medicare insurance plans online. Talk to a U. Explore and compare plans. Get a personalized recommendation. Rather talk to a licensed insurance agent? We'll have one of our licensed insurance agents give you a call. Request a call. Thank you! We will contact you soon!It primarily provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and olderbut also for some younger people with disability status as determined by the Social Security Administration, as well as people with end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Inaccording to the Medicare Trustees Report, Medicare provided health insurance for over These additional so-called out of pocket OOP costs can include deductibles and co-pays; the costs of uncovered services—such as for long-term custodial, dental, hearing, and vision care; the cost of annual physical exams for those not on Part C health plans that include physicals; and the costs related to basic Medicare's lifetime and per-incident limits.

Medicare is funded by a combination of a specific payroll taxbeneficiary premiums and surtaxes from beneficiariesco-pays and deductiblesand general U. Treasury revenue. Medicare is divided into four Parts. Medicare Part A covers hospital inpatient, formally admitted onlyskilled nursing only after being formally admitted to a hospital for three days and not for custodial careand hospice services. Part B covers outpatient services including some providers' services while inpatient at a hospital, outpatient hospital charges, most provider office visits even if the office is "in a hospital", and most professionally administered prescription drugs.

Part D covers mostly self-administered prescription drugs. Part C is an alternative called Managed Medicare or Medicare Advantage which allows patients to choose health plans with at least the same service coverage as Parts A and B and most often moreoften the benefits of Part D, and always an annual out-of-pocket spend limit which A and B lack.

Originally, the name "Medicare" in the United States referred to a program providing medical care for families of people serving in the military as part of the Dependents' Medical Care Act, which was passed in Eisenhower held the first White House Conference on Aging in Januaryin which creating a health care program for social security beneficiaries was proposed.

Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. Former President Harry S. Truman and his wife, former First Lady Bess Truman became the first recipients of the program. InMedicare spurred the racial integration of thousands of waiting rooms, hospital floors, and physician practices by making payments to health care providers conditional on desegregation.

Medicare has been operating for just over a half century and, during that time, has undergone several changes. Sincethe program's provisions have expanded to include benefits for speech, physical, and chiropractic therapy in The government added hospice benefits to aid elderly people on a temporary basis in[11] and made this permanent in Congress further expanded Medicare in to cover younger people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Inunder President George W. Busha Medicare program for covering almost all self-administered prescription drugs was passed and went into effect in as Medicare Part D. The Chief Actuary of the CMS must provide accounting information and cost-projections to the Medicare Board of Trustees to assist them in assessing the program's financial health.

The Trustees are required by law to issue annual reports on the financial status of the Medicare Trust Funds, and those reports are required to contain a statement of actuarial opinion by the Chief Actuary.


Since the Medicare program began, the CMS that was not always the name of the responsible bureaucracy has contracted with private insurance companies to operate as intermediaries between the government and medical providers to administer Part A and Part B benefits. Contracted processes include claims and payment processing, call center services, clinician enrollment, and fraud investigation.

Medicare and Medicaid

Beginning in andrespectively, these Part A and B administrators whose contracts are bid out periodicallyalong with other insurance companies and other companies or organizations such as integrated health delivery systems, unions and pharmaciesalso began administering Part C and Part D plans. The rates paid for both Part A and Part B type services under Part C are whatever is agreed upon between the sponsor and the provider.

The expenditures from the trust funds under Parts A and B are fee for service whereas the expenditures from the trust funds under Parts C and D are capitated. In particular, it is important to understand that Medicare itself does not purchase either self- administered or professionally administered drugs.

For Part B drugs, the trust funds reimburses the professional that administers the drugs and allows a mark up for that service. Part A's inpatient admitted hospital and skilled nursing coverage is largely funded by revenue from a 2. Until December 31,the law provided a maximum amount of compensation on which the Medicare tax could be imposed annually, in the same way that the Social Security payroll tax operates. Self-employed individuals must pay the entire 2.You can apply online for Medicare even if you are not ready to retire.

You can use our online application to sign up. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Medicare Advantage Plans Explained (2020)

There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if we need more information. Apply for Medicare Only. For more information about applying for Medicare only and delaying retirement benefits, visit Applying for Medicare Only — Before You Decide.

If you did not receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card, there may be something that needs to be corrected, like your mailing address. You can update your mailing address by logging in to or creating your personal my Social Security account.

Learn more about your Medicare card. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including those with disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure. To learn more, read our Medicare publication. If you already have Medicare, you can get information and services online. Find out how to manage your benefits.

If you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and you want to enroll in Part B, you cannot use our online application. Return the completed forms to your local Social Security office by mail or fax it to You can choose to join a Medicare Advantage Plan Part C and get all your Medicare coverage including drugs and extra benefits like vision, hearing, dental, and more bundled together in one plan.

Some people with limited resources and income may also be able to get Extra Help to pay for Part D drug costs. Because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you can turn it down.

However, if you decide to enroll in Part B later on, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. Your coverage begins on July 1 of the year you enroll. Read our Medicare publication for more information.

You should sign up for Medicare three months before reaching age 65, even if you are not ready to start receiving retirement benefits. You can opt out of receiving cash retirement benefits now once you are in the online application. Then you can apply online for retirement benefits later.

If you choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B and then decide to do so later, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B. If you have medical insurance coverage under a group health plan based on your or your spouse's current employmentyou may not need to apply for Medicare Part B at age If you do not live in the U. You will need to sign up for it during your initial enrollment period, or you will pay a penalty.

To sign up, please call our toll-free number at TTY You also may contact your local Social Security office.Please enable JavaScript in your web browser; otherwise some parts of this site might not work properly. Use this tool from Medicare to check your enrollment status. For questions about billing or for other information, contact Medicare by phone or mail.

Part D of Medicare is an insurance coverage plan for prescription medication. Learn about the costs for Medicare drug coverage. There are two ways to get Medicare drug coverage :. Learn more about Medicare Part D. If you need more assistance paying for your prescriptions under Medicare Part D, you may qualify for the Extra Help program.

Medicare coverage outside the United States is limited. Learn about coverage if you live or are traveling outside the United States. If you have Original Medicare and have a Medigap policyit may provide coverage for foreign travel emergency health care. Learn more from this fact sheet about Original Medicare outside the United States. Ask a real person any government-related question for free.

They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

What Medicare Does and Does Not Cover

Share This Page:. Do you have a question? Talk to a live USA.Medicare is federal health insurance available for eligible individuals age 65 and over, or individuals under 65 with certain disabilities or medical conditions.

Medicare overview information on this website was developed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to help consumers understand certain aspects about Medicare. Plans are insured and offered through separate Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

Each Blue Cross Blue Shield company is responsible for the information that it provides. All Rights Reserved. To speak to someone about your coverage options, please call Already eligible for Blue Cross and Blue Shield retiree coverage through your employer? Click Here. Are you a retired federal employee? To find out if you are eligible, reach out to your company benefits representative and ask if a company-sponsored Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare plan is available when you retire.

Flexible Content. Featured Image. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information. Get The Benefit of Blue.

Explore the different types of Medicare plans offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies and find coverage that fits your healthcare needs. With information you need, support you can rely on, and tips to stay healthy. Explore what else Blue Cross Blue Shield has to offer and find Medicare coverage that fits your needs. Zip Code.Medicare and Medicaid are two government programs that provide medical and other health-related services to specific individuals in the United States.

Medicaid is a social welfare or social protection program, while Medicare is a social insurance program. President Lyndon B. The two programs that help people pay for their healthcare are different. Data on Medicaid show that it serves about Medicare funded the healthcare costs of more than 58 million enrollees, according to the latest figures.

According to the U. Medicaid is a means tested health and medical services program for low income households with few resources. Individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify. These criteria vary between states. Each state makes the final decisions regarding what their Medicaid plans provide. However, they must meet some federal requirements to receive federal matching funds.

Not all insurance providers must accept Medicaid. Users must check their coverage before receiving health care. People who do not have private health insurance can seek help at a federally qualified health center FQHC.


Each state sets their own Medicaid eligibility guidelines. The program aims to support people in low income households. However, other eligibility requirements relate to:. For a state to receive federal match funding, they must provide Medicaid services to individuals in certain categories of need.

For example, a state must provide coverage for some individuals who receive federally assisted income maintenance payments and similar groups who do not receive cash payments. States may also choose to provide Medicaid coverage to other, less well-defined groups who share some characteristics of the above.

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