Understanding Medicare: An Overview of Sections A Through D

Medicare Enrollment Document

Medicare is a federal health insurance program maintained by the U.S. government that covers millions of Americans. Those over the age of 65 are generally eligible to receive Medicare coverage. Additionally, Medicare coverage should also be issued if Social Security benefits are already in place or criteria for certain disabilities have been met. There are four main components to Medicare coverage that impact what will be included or excluded from each person’s coverage.

The following includes a breakdown of the various Medicare components:

Medicare Part A – Hospital Insurance

On the first day of the month when you turn 65 years old, you are entitled to receive Medicare Part A. In most cases, it is free. You will not pay a premium for Medicare Part A if you or your spouse has paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If you already receive benefits from Social Security or from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) you will automatically receive Medicare Part A. If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits (for example, if you are still working), you may still be eligible to receive Part A at no cost, but you may need to sign up to receive these benefits.

The services covered by Medicare Part A include the following:

Medicare Part B – Medical Insurance

Medicare Part B is optional coverage that is purchased from the federal government. You are eligible for this coverage once you are over the age of 65. The most common way people pay for Medicare Part B is in the form of a monthly premium that is usually deducted from the Social Security benefit check.

Medicare Part B premium levels vary based on your annual income and are set each year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). If you already receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), it’s possible that you may be automatically enrolled in Part B, effective the first day of the month during which you turn 65. You may also be eligible for Part B if you are disabled or have certain end-stage renal diseases.

The services covered by Medicare Part B include the following:

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