Medicare provides health insurance for persons 65+, certain disabled persons and those in final stages of renal (kidney) disease. The Social Security Administration takes applications for Medicare and provides information (apply 3 months before 65th birthday to avoid penalty). For information, call the Medicare Hot Line at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY-TTD 1-877-486-2048.
Two types of benefits
- Hospital Insurance (Part A) - helps pay for inpatient hospital care, limited inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility, home health care and hospice care. Part A has deductibles and co-insurance, but most people do not have to pay premiums for Part A.
- Medical Insurance (Part B) - helps pay for doctor's services, outpatient hospital services, durable medical equipment and a number of other medical services and supplies that are not covered by Part A. Part B has premiums, deductibles and co-insurance that you must pay yourself or through coverage by another insurance plan.
Medicare beneficiaries in many counties can choose to receive Medicare through "original" Medicare (also called fee-for-service or traditional Medicare), or join a Medicare Advantage Plan (also called a Medicare health maintenance organization or managed care plan).
For help with Medicare, call your local point of contact and ask to speak with a health insurance counselor. You can also call the Medicare Hot Line at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY-TDD 1-877-486-2048 for information about the Medicare choices that are available in your area. For information about Medicare on the Web, go to www.medicare.gov.