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 the federal government and Original Medicare (Parts A & B) or through a Medicare-approved private insurer that offers additional benefits like prescription drug coverage (Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and Medicare Part D drug coverage plans).

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

Find Medicare plans

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What is Medicare A & B? (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.

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

What is Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)?

A Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) 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 can combine hospital, doctor, and drug coverage in one plan, and may include extra benefits not offered by Original Medicare.

What is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D plans add prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance plans. These plans are offered by insurance companies approved by Medicare.

Find the right Medicare coverage for you

Try 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.