Medicare is a health insurance program for people age 65 or older and some people with disabilities age 65 and younger.

Medicare has two parts:

Part A (hospital insurance) helps pay for:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Some skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • Some home healthcare
  • Most people get Part A as soon as they turn 65. They do not have to pay a monthly fee for Part A because they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while they were working.

Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for:

  • Doctor’s services
  • Outpatient hospital care
  • Some other medical services that Part A does not cover, like some home healthcare

Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary. You pay the Medicare Part B premium monthly. Premium rates can change yearly. In some cases, this amount may be higher if you did not choose Part B when you first became eligible at age 65. The cost of Part B may go up 10 percent for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B but did not sign up for it. You will have to pay this extra 10 percent for as long as you remain eligible for Medicare.