What is Medicare?

Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the federal government since 1965 that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans who are:

• Age 65 years and older

• Under age 65 on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or diagnosed with certain diseases including End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS) The original program included:

• Part A – Hospital Care. Part A is premium-free for most people.

• Part B – Doctor and Outpatient Care. Part B requires a monthly premium.

In 2006, the program was expanded to include:

• Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage. Part D is optional and requires a monthly premium.