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Your Complete Guide to Medicare

It’s no secret that the US has one of the highest costs of healthcare in the world. And that can make it difficult to find affordable health insurance that suits your specific needs—especially if you’re older or require ongoing treatment for a particular disease.

That’s where Medicare rides in like a knight in shining armor. This federal program offers customizable, affordable health insurance coverage—and it plays an important role in securing medical costs as you age.

Understanding how Medicare works—including its many moving parts—is essential for knowing what expenses you’ll face. The good news? We’ve got you covered there. Keep reading to learn how Medicare works and how it will benefit you and your loved ones.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a national health insurance program provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It’s best known for providing health insurance coverage to individuals who are age 65 and over, but it also applies to those under 65 with certain health conditions. Medicare consists of four parts, which helps ensure an ideal coverage plan based on your specific needs and budget—more on that below.

Who Qualifies for Medicare?

Contrary to popular belief, Medicare isn’t just meant for individuals who are age 65 and over.

It also covers some disabled and medically affected folks under the age of 65, as well. Wondering if you qualify? If you’re a US citizen (or have been a permanent legal resident for the past five years) and can answer yes to one of the following statements, you are eligible to receive Medicare:

How Does it Work? The Different Parts of Medicare Explained

If you’ve ever felt confused while reading about Medicare, you’re not alone. Medicare is a complicated program, and it can be tricky to keep track of the many options and layers of information. Thankfully, the program has been broken down into four basic parts that make it clear and easy to understand:

Here’s a detailed rundown of each of the four parts of Medicare and how they may apply to you:

Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare. However, it’s important to know that each Medicare Advantage Plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and may enforce different rules for how you get services (such as requiring a referral before you can see a specialist, etc). 

Every Medicare Part D plan is required to cover certain common types of drugs, which will be listed on their drug list (also known as formulary). However, each plan may choose which specific drugs it covers, so make sure you choose a plan that covers your medications before you enroll.

How Do I Enroll in Medicare?

Now you know how the different parts of Medicare work. So the next question is, how do you enroll? Some people will automatically qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B, while others will need to sign up for it. In most cases, it depends on:

  1. Your age
  2. Whether or not you’re receiving Social Security benefits.

Here’s what you need to know about whether or not you qualify—and how to enroll if you don’t.

You Automatically qualify for Medicare Parts A and B if:

You Do Not Automatically Qualify for Medicare Parts A and B if: 

If you don’t automatically qualify for Medicare Parts A and B, you’ll need to sign up. Here are the different ways you can enroll:

Note: If you are required to enroll for Medicare, you won’t need to sign up each year. However, each year you’ll have a chance to review your coverage and change plans.

The Many Parts of Medicare: Summing it All Up

Already forgot which part of Medicare is which? This handy cheat sheet will help!

Looking for Affordable Medicare? Look No Further

Now that you’re well-equipped to choose the Medicare plan that suits you best, it’s time to find the best possible coverage rates. We’re here to take the stress out of insurance shopping with  our fast and affordable online insurance quotes. Get yours right now, and enjoy the peace of mind that your health care coverage is comprehensive and affordable. 

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