The Importance of Medicare


Medicare is the federal government that provides coverage to those who are 65+, under 65 and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a certain period of time, or under 65 and with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The Medicare program is funded in part by the Social Security and Medicare taxes paid on income, in part through premiums that those with Medicare pay, and additionally in part by the federal budget. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency that runs Medicare. 

How Does It Work?

The availability of Medicare does not factor in income. Once you’ve become Medicare-eligible and enroll you can choose to get your Medicare benefits from Original Medicare (the traditional fee-for-service program offered directly through the federal government) or from a Medicare Advantage Plan. A Medicare Advantage Plan is a type of private insurance offered by companies that contract with Medicare. Original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B when it comes to providing coverages. 

It’s important to understand all of your choices for Medicare options and to pick your coverages carefully. How you choose to get your benefits and who you are getting them from can greatly affect your out-of-pocket costs and where you will receive your care. Medicare consists of four parts: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Each part covers a specific type of coverage. Below is a list of what each part of Medicare covers. 

  • Part A provides inpatient/hospital coverage
  • Part B provides outpatient/medical coverage
  • Part C provides Medicare Advantage
  • Part D provides prescription drug coverage 

Medicare and Medicaid Are Not The Same

Both programs are similar but they are serving different purposes. Medicare is a government-run program that provides health insurance. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is run by the federal government in partnership with states to help cover those with limited income. Depending on the state, Medicaid can become available for those who are below a certain income level while meeting other criteria (such as age, disability status, pregnancy) or it will become available for all people below a certain income level.