What is Medicare and what does it cover?

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, or those under 65 who may qualify because of a disability or another special situation. Medicare helps millions of American seniors and disabled individuals cover some of their health care costs.

Medicare also offers important choices in how you receive benefits – whether through Original Medicare or through a Medicare-approved private insurer that offers prescription drug coverage and additional benefits like vision, hearing, dental, and more.

The different parts of Medicare help cover the costs of specific services.

Find Medicare plans

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Questions about Medicare plans? Call UnitedHealthcare now

Call 855-721-8514 (TTY 711) toll free, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week1

Let's get to know more about Medicare

Whether you're just starting out with Medicare, need to brush up on the facts, or are helping a loved one, start your journey here. Take a closer look to find information on:

What is Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A & B)?

You can enroll in Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), Original Medicare Part B (medical insurance), or both. Once you enroll in Medicare, there are more options available from private insurers to provide coverage for the benefits and services that aren't covered by Original Medicare.

What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Part A does not cover most care outside of the U.S., long-term care, custodial care or hospital stays beyond certain set limits.

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Medicare Part B does not cover prescription drugs, dental care, routine eye care, hearing tests or hearing aids.

What is Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)?

A Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private insurance company that contracts with Medicare to provide Original Medicare (Parts A and B) benefits.

Most Medicare Advantage plans combine hospital, doctor, and drug coverage in one plan, and may include other benefits and features not offered by Original Medicare,  including eye exams, eye glasses and corrective lenses, dental exams, cleanings and X-rays, hearing tests and hearing aids, wellness programs and fitness benefits.

What is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D plans are stand-alone prescription drug plans that can help pay for your medication. These plans are offered by insurance companies approved by Medicare.

What are Medicare Supplement insurance plans?

Medicare Supplement insurance (sometimes referred to as "Medigap") works with Original Medicare to pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that Parts A and B alone do not.

Do you qualify for Medicare and Medicaid?

Some people have both Medicare and Medicaid. If so, they could be “dual eligible.” That’s where dual special needs plans — or “dual” plans — come in. Dual plans work together with the individual’s Medicaid plan. Dual health plans cover eligible doctor visits, hospital stays and prescription drugs. If you have Medicare and Medicaid, chances are you could qualify for a Dual Special Needs Plan (D-SNP).

Find the right Medicare coverage for you

Are you trying to make retirement less worrisome and save on health care costs? If you're new to Medicare, or know someone who is, we may be able to help make the transition easier.

Medicare Made Clear Guide

"Medicare Made Clear: Getting Started With Medicare" from UnitedHealthcare explains Medicare and coverage options.


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