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Hospice Care

Medicare 101 What is Medicare?

Saad Healthcare believes that it is important for our patients, customers, and friends to understand their rights and benefits under Medicare, in order to take full advantage of the options that make good health care available.

Medicare is the federal government program that gives you health care coverage (health insurance) if you are 65 or older or under 65 and have a disability, no matter your income. When you pay taxes on your income, part of the money goes toward Medicare. Medicare is different from Medicaid, which is a state and federal program offering health care coverage to people of most ages in certain groups (children and pregnant women, single parents, people with disabilities, and people 65 and over), but generally only to those with low incomes.

Medicare has different parts that cover inpatient services, outpatient services, and prescription drugs at the pharmacy. Unless you make another choice for how to get your benefits when you become eligible for Medicare, you will have Original Medicare, the traditional fee-for-service program offered directly through the federal government. In Original Medicare, you are covered to go to just about any doctor or hospital in the country.

People can also choose to get their Medicare benefits instead through a Medicare private health plan (such as an HMO or PPO). These plans, which are also called "Medicare Advantage" plans, must offer at least the same benefits as Original Medicare but can have different rules, costs, and coverage restrictions. They can also offer additional benefits. Some people who get health coverage from a union or current or former employer will automatically be enrolled in a Medicare private health plan when they become eleigible for Medicare if their employer sponsors one. Everyone has a choice about how to get Medicare health benefits.

It is important to understand your Medicare coverage choices and to pick your coverage carefully. How you choose to get your benefits can affect your quality of care.

Everyone who has Medicare receives a "red-white-and-blue" Original Medicare card. If you have Original Medicare, you will show this card when you get services. If you choose to get your health benefits through a Medicare private health plan, you will still get an Original Medicare card but you will show your private plan card when you get services. No matter how you get your Medicare health benefits, keep the Original Medicare card as proof of your Medicare eligibility.