Medicare is Federal health insurance program that provides basic medical coverage for people 65 or older, and for people with certain disabilities. Original Medicare consists of Part A (hospital) and Part B (medically necessary services and supplies). Part A is typically provided at no cost to individuals who qualify. Part B recipients pay a premium that is based upon income. Choosing to delay enrollment in Part B, or in the prescription coverage (Part D), may result in enrollment penalties that will be assessed for the entirety of Medicare enrollment. Be sure to discuss your options with a Medicare specialist.


  • People age 65 or older
  • People under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
  • People of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).


Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)

Most people don't pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working. Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. Beneficiaries must meet certain conditions to get these benefits.


Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) 

Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B, which helps cover services provided by a physician and outpatient care. Part B also covers particular medical services that Part A doesn't cover, such as services provided by physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care, when these services and supplies are deemed medically necessary.


Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)

A monthly premium is commonly associated with this coverage. Part D is available to all Medicare recipients, and a variety of plans are provided by private insurers. It is designed to aid Medicare recipients in lower the cost of prescription drugs, and helps protect against higher costs in the future. Beneficiaries choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium. If a beneficiary chooses not to enroll when they become eligible, or to delay enrollment, they may be subject to a penalty if they choose to join later.