How Does Medicare Work?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides benefits to American citizens and permanent legal residents (of at least five continuous years) aged 65 and older, or who have a qualifying disability or illness. Most people are automatically enrolled into Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, when they become eligible; however, some people need to manually enroll in Medicare. Medicare Part A is hospital insurance; Medicare Part B is medical insurance.

What does part C cover?
Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) gives you a way to get your Original Medicare coverage through a private, Medicare-approved insurance company instead of directly through the government. Medicare Advantage plans provide all you’re Medicare Part A and Part B benefits other than hospice care, which Part A still covers. But many Medicare Advantage plans include extra benefits, such as routine dental and vision services. And most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, letting you get all your Medicare benefits through a single plan.

Can I have Original Medicare? With no Health Plan?
If you stay with Original Medicare, be aware that prescription drugs aren’t covered in most situations.

What does my part D cover?
Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage through private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. You may want to consider adding a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

What is a Medicare supplement?
If you decide to stay with Original Medicare, another option you may have is to sign up for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to help pay for Original Medicare’s out-of- pocket costs. Different Medigap plans pay for different amounts of those costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles

What is my Medicare effective Date?
For Original Medicare, Part A and Part B a simple way to determine your exact Medicare effective date is to refer to the lower right corner of your Medicare card or to refer to your letter from either the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board.

If I retire at age 62, will I be eligible for Medicare?
No, but in some cases, when one spouse turns 62, the other spouse may qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A even if he or she hasn’t worked. Medicare benefits start once you reach the age of 65 (unless you qualify by disability). You’re automatically enrolled at age 65 if you’re already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. If you’ve worked at least 10 years (40 quarters) while paying Medicare taxes, there is no monthly premium for your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) benefits. But if you haven’t worked, or worked less than 10 years, you may qualify for premium-free Part A when your spouse turns 62, if she or he has worked at least 10 years while paying Medicare taxes. However, to be eligible for Medicare, you need to be 65 years old. You also need to be an American citizen or legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years.

What is the monthly premium for Medicare Part B?
The standard Medicare Part B premium for medical insurance in 2016 is $121.80.

How can I get help with my Medicare Part B premiums?
States must help pay some of the Medicare costs for beneficiaries who have limited income and resources. Under these programs, states help pay for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles and copayments. Some of these programs also pay additional Medicare expenses for elderly and disabled people.

Since Medicare doesn’t cover all my health care cost, how ca I supplement Medicare?
Most people supplement Medicare with some other form of coverage, such as a Medigap plan, retiree plan, Medi-Cal (if they have low income and assets), or Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits (if they qualify). Others receive Medicare through private health plans called Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.