How Does Medicare Work?


Quick Answer

Medicare is a fee-for-service medical insurance plan backed by the Federal Government and intended to service American citizens 65 years of age or older, along with certain disabled citizens and citizens with certain end-stage diseases. There are many Medicare plans which cover different ranges of healthcare needs.

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Full Answer

Original Medicare is a simple fee-structured medical insurance program which allows the holder of a Medicare card to seek medical treatment without prior arrangement, provided that they pay their monthly premiums. The card also functions as a more typical insurance card in that it interfaces with hospital and clinic payment structures to cover certain costs for visiting patients.

Medicare's prescription drug program commands an additional premium. These premium payments are tailored to income brackets. Without the prescription drug program, Medicare does not cover most prescription drugs. This is known as Medicare Part D and is a subsidiary to the overall program, still supported by the Federal Government but available on an opt-in basis.

Medicare Advantage Plus is a more flexible version of the Medicare plan which is designed to suit special needs and to accommodate greater medical care quotients. It is a more expensive service but provides vastly increased coverage and a much wider array of services for those who need special help.

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