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Medicare Health Insurance is a government benefit available to United States citizens who are 65 years or older. People under 65 who suffer from certain disabilities detailed by Medicare are also eligible for Medicare benefits, as are people with End-Stage Renal Disease that calls for dialysis or transplant of one or both kidneys.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care or care delivered in a nursing home, Hospice as well as home health care. Part A usually does not require any premiums for coverage if the patient or a spouse has paid Medicare taxes while employed.
Medicare Part B is medical coverage. Part B insures the patient will have outpatient care and home health care coverage as well as doctor's visits. Part B also covers some preventive services including cardiovascular screenings, colon cancer screenings and bone density screenings. Most people will pay a standard premium for Part B coverage. The premium may be more if the patient's tax return in the previous two years is above a certain amount.
Medicare Part C is additional insurance coverage that is usually offered by a third party insurer and is similar to an HMO. It is sometimes called Medicare Advantage. These plans are not supplemental coverage but may offer additional benefits such as vision, dental health and wellness and hearing. The companies that offer this coverage must follow guidelines set forth by Medicare, but may charge varying out of pocket charges for coverage.
Prescription coverage is called Medicare Part D. To acquire or enroll for this type of coverage the patient must join a plan that is administrated by a Medicare approved third party company. Cost for the plans can vary as well as the drugs covered by the plan. To be eligible for Part D a patient must already be enrolled in Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B.