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Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
The Medicare insurance program offers insurance coverage through either Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) or private insurance companies contracted with Medicare. The different ways to get Medicare coverage include:
is the hospital insurance component of the federally administered Original Medicare program that provides coverage for inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing care, nursing home care, hospice, and certain home health care.
is the medical insurance component of the federally administered Original Medicare program aimed at diagnosing or treating medical conditions in an outpatient setting (such as doctor’s office or outpatient surgery center), preventive services aimed at preventing or detecting illnesses at an early stage (like the flu), and things like durable medical equipment and limited outpatient prescription drugs.
plans, also known as Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs), are stand-alone prescription drug plans that offer coverage for medication costs. Like Medicare Advantage plans, stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans are offered by private insurance companies contracted with Medicare.
plans are also known by other names, including Medigap and MedSupp. Medicare Supplement plans may help cover the health-care costs that Original Medicare does not cover, including deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and other out-of-pocket costs.