Glasses and a pen on a medicare enrollment form

What is Medicare?

When you reach a certain age, you may be entitled to sign up for Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 years or older, people with certain disabilities, or people with End-Stage Renal Disease. There are different parts of Medicare that you can sign up for that help you cover specific services. These include:

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
  • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plus)
  • Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)

How much does Medicare cost?

The monthly premium for Medicare Part A is generally paid for with taxes that are contributed while the patient and spouse are working. This is referred to as a “premium-free Part A” plan.  If the cost is not covered in this way, the premium could end up costing you up to $411 each month. Free Part A is available if the patient is already receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board. You may also be eligible to get these benefits even if you haven’t already applied. Finally, all government employees will be eligible to receive Medicare.

In most cases, if people choose to enroll in Medicare Part A insurance, they must also purchase Part B. The cost of Part B will vary depending on your yearly income or tax returns. Most people pay the standard premium amount of $121.80 for those making less than $85,000 per year. If you make over $85,000, you can expect to pay $170.50. For those who make over $107,000, you will have to pay $243.60. From there, the price goes up based on your yearly income.

What does Medicare cover?

Each individual insurance plan will cover different things. Medicare Part A will cover inpatient hospital visits, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice. Medicare Part B will cover certain doctor’s services and tests. Preventative screenings and tests are also covered by Medicare Parts A and B in an attempt to keep you healthy before disease and illness strike. Some of these tests include screenings for cardiovascular disease, cervical cancer, diabetes, depression, mammograms, obesity, and more. It will also cover flu shots, Hepatitis B shots, and pneumococcal shots.

If you have further questions about what exactly is covered by your Medicare plan, you can search for further answers. The website has a search feature that allows you to see if any test, item, or service is covered by your insurance.

What isn’t covered by Medicare?

There are several things that are not covered by Medicare Part A and B. If you need certain services that are not covered, additional insurance is needed or you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for these procedures or services. Here is a list of things that are not covered by Medicare Part A and B:

  • Long-Term Care/Custodial Care
  • Most Dental Care
  • Eye examinations
  • Prescription glasses
  • Dentures
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Acupuncture
  • Hearing aid exams
  • Hearing aids
  • Routine foot care
Last Updated: April 19, 2016