Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older. Though Medicare benefits likely will not cover every medical service and prescription a person may need, this taxpayer-subsidized program helps people manage medical costs as they age.
What is Medicare?
Medicare also serves certain younger people with disabilities and people with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
Medicare has different parts. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home healthcare. Most people don't pay a monthly premium for Part A. Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Everyone pays a monthly premium for Part B. Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs (including many recommended shots or vaccines). To get Medicare drug coverage, you must join a Medicare-approved plan that offers drug coverage. Plans have different monthly premiums.