Couple hiking at the beach

What is Medicare?

A U.S. federal health insurance program

The U.S. government created Medicare in 1966 for retired Americans. Over the years, Medicare has expanded its coverage.1

At what age can you get Medicare?

You can get Medicare if you are 65 or older. Medicare is also for:

  • Younger people with disabilities
  • People with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)2
  • People with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease)

What is Original Medicare?

Original Medicare started with hospital and medical coverage. These are Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. The member has to pay for additional costs like drugs. To help, private insurance companies like Capital BlueCross created Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans include Part A and Part B with other benefits.

What are the parts of Medicare?

The 4 Parts of Medicare

Simply put:

Part A 

Hospital Coverage

Part B 

Medical Coverage

Part C 

Medicare Advantage Plans

Part D 

Prescription Drug Plans

Your coverage options

We know it’s confusing to choose a Medicare plan. It’s important to pick a plan that meets your health needs. Don’t forget, Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything. We have your options spelled out here.

Your Options How Do you Enroll?

1Medicare is a separate program from Medicaid. Medicaid helps lower-income people with healthcare.

2This is a disease that causes permanent kidney failure. People with this disease require dialysis or a transplant.

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Updated February 10, 2020