The ABC'S (& Ds) of Medicare

Medicare consists of:

Hospital insurance (Part A)

Medical insurance (Part B)

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Prescription drug plan (Part D)

Medicare starts at age 65

Virtually all U.S. residents who are age 65 or older qualify for Medicare. Unless you are disabled, your coverage cannot begin until age 65. Even if you take Social Security benefits at 62, you must wait until 65 for Medicare. Although Social Security’s full retirement age is gradually increasing from 65 to 67, the age for Medicare will remain 65.

Medicare and Medicaid: What’s the difference?

Don’t confuse Medicare with Medicaid. Medicare is a health insurance program. Medicaid is a medical assistance program. Each state has its own Medicaid rules — within broad federal guidelines — but every state requires Medicaid applicants to meet low income and low-asset eligibility requirements.