Medicare is a program for people who are over 65, but also for some people who are disabled or are on kidney dialysis. The program was started in 1965. There are 55 million people on Medicare.
Medicare covers about half of the medical charges for patients who are enrolled.
Part “A” of Medicare covers hospital charges. Most people do not pay a premium for part “A”. To get on part “A”, you or your spouse have to have worked and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years, UNLESS you are receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, or if you or your spouse worked for a government job that was covered by Medicare.
There are some unusual situations that patients YOUNGER than 65 can get on Medicare, such as if a patent is on kidney dialysis or kidney transplant, or if a patient has Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
Part “B” pays for doctor’s office visits, medical equipment used in the home, ambulance services, and laboratory tests. Everyone must pay for part “B if they want it.
Part “D” is outpatient drug coverage, and is provided through private insurance companies that have contracts with the government.
Part “C” is not a separate benefit. It is part of Medicare that allows for private health insurance companies to provide Medicare Benefits.