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“When am I eligible for Medicare? What is Medicare?”


Medicare is the national health care program for the elderly. That’s the basic answer but not the complete one. The program is open to American citizens and longtime resident aliens who are over 65 or who are younger and have certain long-term disabilities or chronic kidney ailments.
Medicare is not a single entity. There is a range of services, generally provided by private health care professionals through government or private insurance packages. The services are divided into four parts:
Part A, hospital coverage.
Part B, medical coverage.
Part C, so-called Medicare Advantage Plans through which private insurers approved by Medicare provide Part A and B services and often others.
Part D, prescription drug coverage offered by private insurers approved by Medicare.
Enrollees typically start off in the basic government-run plan offering Parts A and B, known as “Original Medicare.” They can keep what they’ve got or go to a Part C plan. Those in both categories will then decide if they want Part D drug coverage and perhaps a supplemental plan that pays deductibles and co-payments on medical and hospital care.

Quite simply, Medicare is complicated. More information is available from or from financial planners who specialize in health care issues.

-Conrad de Aenlle