Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are:
- Age 65 and older.
- Younger than 65 with certain disabilities.
- Any age with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a type of permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Medicare has helped millions of Americans pay for the health care services they need. You’ve likely contributed to the program through the Social Security taxes deducted from your paycheck.
Medicare Part A generally covers the following:
- Hospital care
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Nursing home care when you need more than custodial care
- Hospice care
- Home health services
Even when Medicare pays the cost of a service or item, you generally have your own portion to pay, in the form of deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
Medicare Part B covers two types of services:
- Medically necessary services are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and must meet accepted standards of medical practice.
- Preventive services are intended to prevent illnesses like the flu and detect serious conditions at an early stage, when treatment has the best chance of success.
When you’re covered by Medicare, you pay nothing for most preventive services rendered by a Medicare-approved health care provider.
Medicare Part B covers health care costs like:
- Clinical trials
- Ambulance services
- Durable medical equipment
- Mental health
- Inpatient stays
- Outpatient care
- Partial hospitalization
- Getting a second opinion before surgery
- Some outpatient prescription drugs
Even when Medicare covers a service or item, you generally have your own portion to pay, in the form of deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
Medicare does not cover all items and services. Some of these are:
- Long-term care
- Custodial care
- Most forms of dental care
- Eye exams for prescribing glasses
- Cosmetic surgery
- Hearing aids and fitting exams
- Routine foot care
Medicare Supplement insurance is sold by private companies. This type of coverage helps you pay some of the health care costs not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B. Medicare Supplment insurance pays for things like your Medicare copayments (deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments).
One type of Medicare Supplement insurance is Part D, which helps you cover the costs of prescription drugs.
Medicare Supplement insurance offers a number of advantages:
- You get help paying out-of-pocket medical expenses like copays and deductibles, which makes it easier to manage your health care budget.
- Your Medicare Supplement coverage is valid everywhere in the U.S.
- You can visit any specialist—with no referral needed—as long as the provider accepts Medicare patients.
- You can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare patients.
- You can choose from a variety of plan types to help meet your needs now and in the future.
Critical illness insurance pays you benefits if you are diagnosed with a covered critical illness, such as cancer, heart attack or stroke. With most policies, benefits are paid directly to you when you are first diagnosed. You can then use your benefits however you choose.
When you have critical illness insurance, benefits are paid directly to you, or someone you designate, not to your health care provider. You can use the money you receive however you need, whether it’s to pay medical bills, replace wages when you can’t work, cover your mortgage and other bills, or pay for household expenses.
When you experience a common critical illness like cancer, heart attack or stroke, you may need extra resources to protect your family, finances and future retirement. Critical illness insurance helps ensure you have the protection you need right when you need it.