Medicare is a program started by the federal government to provide health care coverage to people aged 65 and over.
Before Medicare, most people who retired did not have access to health insurance. Medicare was signed into law in 1965 to solve that problem. Today, Medicare provides health care coverage to people aged 65 and over, and it also covers some younger people with disabilities or health conditions.
Did you know that you have been paying for Medicare over the course of your work history? Every time you received a paycheck, FICA taxes were withheld. Those tax dollars are used to pay for two things – Social Security and Medicare.
If you pay FICA taxes for a minimum of 10 years (40 quarters), your Medicare Part A benefit will be premium-free once you are eligible to receive Medicare.
Most people are happy with the Medicare program.*
*(2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey)
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) runs the Medicare program. They administer the benefits known as Original Medicare, and they approve private companies to provide Medicare coverage. They make decisions about the services that are covered by Medicare and the rates that Medicare pays to providers for health care services.
CMS also plays a role in Medicaid. They may sound similar, but Medicare and Medicaid are different programs.
Medicaid helps with health care costs for people with limited income and resources, regardless of age. Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. That is called dual eligibility.
When you are ready to enroll in Medicare, you will have options for how you get your health care coverage. Understanding all of your options will help you make the decision about the health care coverage that is best for you.
Learn more about the options available to you by clicking the topics below:
Have questions or need help enrolling?
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