Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older and people younger than age 65 with certain conditions. These include those who have disabilities, such as permanent kidney failure or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Medicare is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. It also is financed in part by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks.
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. You may buy a Medicare supplement policy (called Medigap) from a private insurance companies to cover some of the costs that Medicare does not.
In addition, a Medicare Advantage Plan is a type of Medicare health plan also offered by private companies that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits and often with additional benfits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Private Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS), Special Needs Plans (SNP), and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans.