Medicare is a federal health insurance program in the United States that primarily provides coverage for people aged 65 and older, as well as for those who have certain disabilities or end-stage renal disease.

Here are the basics you need to know:

Parts of Medicare:

Medicare is divided into several parts, each covering different healthcare services:

Part A: hospital insurance, which covers inpatient care, hospice care, and skilled nursing care.
Part B: medical insurance, which covers outpatient care, doctor visits, preventive services, and medical equipment.
Part C: also known as Medicare Advantage, which allows private insurance companies to provide Medicare benefits.
Part D: prescription drug coverage, which helps pay for prescription drugs.

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Enrollment: Enrollment in Medicare is typically automatic for people turning 65 and receiving Social Security benefits. If you’re not automatically enrolled, you can sign up during a specific enrollment period.

Costs: Medicare comes with certain costs such as premiums, deductibles, and copayments. The amount you pay will depend on the specific plan you choose and your income.

Coverage gaps: Medicare may not cover all of your healthcare expenses. You may have to pay for certain services out of pocket or purchase additional insurance to fill the gaps.

Choosing a plan: There are many Medicare plans available, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. It's important to carefully consider your healthcare needs and budget when selecting a plan.

Additional resources: The Medicare website and other government resources provide more information on the specifics of the program, including benefits, costs, and enrollment.