Medicare is a four-part program. The first part is officially called “Hospital Insurance Benefits for the Aged and Disabled” and this part is commonly referred to as Part A of Medicare. The second part is officially called “Supplementary Medical Insurance Benefits for the Aged and Disabled” and this part is commonly referred to as Part B of Medicare. The third part is Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C and generally involves coverage under one of the Medicare HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) offerings for Participants who live in a geographic area served by a Medicare HMO and who choose to be covered by a Medicare HMO. Medicare Part D provides Prescription Drug coverage. Part A of Medicare primarily covers Hospital benefits, although other benefits are also provided. Part B of Medicare primarily covers Physician’s services, although it, too, covers a number of other items and services. Part C covers both Hospital and Physician services. Part D covers Prescription Drug expenses.
Typically a person becomes eligible for Medicare upon reaching age 65. Under certain circumstances a person may become eligible for Medicare before age 65 if the person is a disabled worker, disabled widow, or Dependent widower or has chronic renal disease.
When you reach age 65, you are eligible to apply for all parts of Medicare coverage, even if you have not yet retired or are not yet receiving Social Security benefits. Part A of Medicare is ordinarily free, and premiums are required for the other Parts of Medicare. If you are not yet receiving Social Security benefits, you must pay any required premium to the Social Security Administration. If you are receiving Social Security Benefits, you will have the premium deducted from your monthly Social Security benefit check.