What Is Medicare?
<lingo>Medicare is a federally sponsored program for people 65 and older to cover the costs of their medical bills. Anyone can sign up for Medicare, regardless of their income. However, higher income earners will pay premiums based on their individual wealth. Medicare is also available to people under 65 who are on Social Security Disability Income or those 65 and under with end-stage renal diseases. Medicare has undergone major changes over the past few years, splitting into several Parts that cover different types of medical services.</lingo>
Medicare is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and it's funded by member premiums, federal funds, and the Medicare and social security tax on your yearly income. Once you sign up, you have a number of plans for which you can enroll, depending on your eligibility. These plans break down into two general categories: Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plan. Original Medicare charges a fee for each service and includes both inpatient and outpatient coverage. Medicare Part A refers to inpatient hospital costs, while Part B refers to the outpatient coverage. A Medicare Advantage Plan (sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C) is a special type of plan offered through private insurance companies that contract through the government.
<twitter>Medicare is a federally sponsored program for people 65 and older to cover the costs of their medical bills. </twitter>
Original Medicare doesn't typically cover the cost of prescription drugs (also known as Part D). If you need this service, you need to sign up for a separate Medicare private drug plan. A Medicare Advantage Plan still has to offer the same services provided by Original Medicare, and many of these plans include prescription drug coverage built into the plan. The one you sign up for depends largely on your lifestyle, health, and income. For example, Original Medicare has very few restrictions when it comes to where you receive your treatment and who your physician is. However, a Medicare Advantage Plan will have network restrictions that limit how you receive your care. If you travel or just want the freedom to choose your own doctor, it may make more sense to opt for the Original Medicare option.
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