What Is Medicare? Plans, Costs, Coverage

Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law in 1965 as part of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to Americans who could not obtain coverage through private insurers. Since then, the programs have grown significantly, giving range to millions, improving the nation’s economic security, and saving lives.


Medicare coverage is a government-run health insurance scheme for the elderly, 65 or older, younger people with disorders, and people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Conversely, Medicaid is a joint federal and state program providing health insurance to low-income individuals and families. It is primarily funded by federal and state tax revenue.


Medicaid covers many healthcare services, including doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, and long-term care. Eligibility for Medicaid is determined by income and other factors, such as disability status, age, and family size. Each state sets its eligibility criteria and benefits, so coverage may vary depending on where you live.

Medicare is divided into parts A, B, C, and D

  1. Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance
  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care
  1. Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance
  • Doctor services
  • Outpatient care
  • Preventive services
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  1. Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Combines Part A and Part B coverage
  • It may include additional benefits like dental and vision
  1. Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs

While Medicare provides comprehensive coverage for many medical services, costs associated with the program exist. Beneficiaries may incur several charges when enrolled in Medicare, including premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.


Most people do not have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A, which covers skilled nursing facility care, inpatient hospital care, hospice care, and home health care. However, if you or your spouse did not pay Medicare taxes while working, you may give payment to a premium for Part A.

Medicare Part B, which covers medical services and supplies, does require a monthly premium. The accustomed monthly premium for Part B in 2023 is $165.90, but this amount may be higher for individuals with higher incomes.

Some beneficiaries may also enroll in Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage. Private insurance companies offer these plans and may charge each monthly premium in addition to the Part B premium.

Medicare Advantage plans are a popular choice for many seniors, and ClearmatchMedicare.com is one of the leading brokers. With their expertise and knowledge of the available plans, they can help you find a plan that fits your budget and your health needs.


Beneficiaries may also have to pay deductibles before Medicare coverage kicks in. For example, in 2023, the Medicare Part A deductible is $1,600 for each benefit period, while the Part B deductible is $226 for the year. At the same time, part C and D deductibles vary by plan and are subject to change.

Copayments and coinsurance

In addition to deductibles, beneficiaries may be responsible for copayments and coinsurance. Copayments are fixed for certain services, such as prescription drugs or doctor visits. Coinsurance is a percentage of the service cost you are responsible for paying.

For example, in 2023, the Medicare Part A coinsurance for inpatient hospital care is $0 for the first 60 days, $400 copayment per day for days 61-90, and $800 copayment per “lifetime reserve day” after day 90. For Medicare Part B, most services require a 20% coinsurance payment, although some coverage for preventive services potentially comes at no cost to the beneficiary.


Some beneficiaries may purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance on this website. Medigap is a type of health insurance sold by private insurance companies to help cover some costs that Medicare does not cover. These additional costs may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

Medigap policies are designed to work alongside original Medicare and are standardized by the federal government. This means that each Medigap policy must cover the same essential benefits, regardless of which insurance company is selling the policy. However, insurance companies may offer additional benefits like vision, dental, and hearing care coverage.

Ten standardized Medigap plans are available, each labeled with a different letter (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N). Each plan provides an extra level of coverage, and some plans may only be available in some states. It is essential to compare programs and costs before purchasing a Medigap policy.

It is integral to note that Medigap policies only work with original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage plans. If you want to purchase Medigap coverage and have a Medicare Advantage plan. You may need to switch back to your original Medicare first.

Cost and Enrollment

Personal insurance companies sell Medigap policies, and the cost of the procedure varies depending on the insurance company, your age, and your location. It is essential to compare plans and prices before purchasing a Medigap policy.

Enrolling in a Medigap policy must be signed on in Medicare Part A and B. You may be relevant to medical underwriting if you apply for a Medigap policy outside the open enrollment period or have certain pre-existing conditions.

During the open enrollment period, which lasts for six months starting from the first day you turn 65 and are registered in Medicare Part B, insurance companies cannot deny or reject you coverage for a Medigap policy due to any pre-existing conditions. Medigap policies are standardized by the federal government and work alongside original Medicare.

Medicare covers certain preventive services at no cost to beneficiaries, such as:

  • Annual wellness visits
  • Screening for depression
  • Screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer
  • Vaccinations such as the flu shot and pneumococcal vaccine
  • Diabetes screenings and self-management training
  • Cardiovascular disease screenings and behavioral counseling

In conclusion, while Medicare provides comprehensive coverage for many medical services, costs associated with the program do exist. These costs include premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Beneficiaries may also purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance to help cover some out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare. It is crucial to be wary of these costs and to understand how they may impact your budget and healthcare expenses.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels; Thank you!


Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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