Medicare is a federal program that covers U.S. citizens and legal residents 65 and over by providing health insurance. In order to be eligible for Medicare, you have to have lived in the U.S. for at least five years. In addition to citizens 65 and over, those suffering from End Stage Renal Disease, ALS, Lou-Gehrig’s disease, and other qualifying disabilities can also receive Medicare.
Medicare has four parts: A,B,C, and D. Part A is based upon a person who has a minimum of 40 hours of work history with Social Security, while Part B usually has a premium and is optional. Medicare Part C is usually called Medicare Advantage, and bundles parts A and B of Medicare. Medicare Advantage often has no premiums and includes prescription drug insurance. Medicare Part D is provided by private insurance companies that have contracts with Medicare.
These are only the basics of Medicare A,B,C, and D. Independent Medicare advisors can break down the specifics of these individual parts, and how they personally affect you.