The Basics of Medicare

Photo collage of a medicare enrollment form with a social security card on top
Medicare is a health insurance program for people 65 or older, or under 65 and with certain disabilities. The program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.

Medicare is a national health insurance program administered by the U.S. government that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older (who have worked and paid into the system) and to younger people with disabilities.

There are four primary components to Medicare and multiple plan combinations. Stroke survivors and their caregivers should be well-informed about the choices available to ensure they are enrolled in the plan that best meets their financial and healthcare needs. Medicare has different parts that cover inpatient services, outpatient services and prescription drugs at the pharmacy.

If you are already getting Social Security retirement, social security disability (SSDI) benefits or railroad retirement checks, you will be contacted a few months before you become eligible for Medicare and given the information you need to enroll. You will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically. Most people pay no monthly premium costs for Part A because they paid Medicare or FICA taxes while working. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B, however, enrolling in Part B is optional.

Medicare is always changing. Your healthcare needs may also change from year to year. That’s why understanding Medicare coverage and knowing what plan works best for specific needs is so important.

To learn more download Understanding Medicare and How It Works.