Medicare (commonly known as "red and blue card") is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older. Those under the age of 65 with disabilities, End Stage Renal Disease (kidney failure), or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis are also eligible to participate. You can sign up for Medicare 3 months before you turn 65 and your status is U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident.
Original Medicare insurance includes Part A and Part B.
Part A covers inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. If you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes and accumulated at least 40 work quarters / credits (10 years), you can sign up Part A coverage for free at age 65. If you have not accumulated 40 work credits by the time you turn 65, you will be charged Part A premiums.
Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Part B is required to pay premiums regardless of whether 40 work credits have been accumulated. The premium varies depending on your income.
You can apply Original Medicare from the Social Security Administration office by appointment at an office or online.Social Security Office Locator Original Medicare Online Application
Original Medicare Parts A and Part B only cover 80% of medical expenses. In order to obtain more comprehensive coverage, you have the following two options:
Medicare Supplement can pay some of the medical costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover. Some plans provide additional benefits such as eyeglasses. A monthly premium is required, and the premium varies depending on where you live.
Prescription Drug Plan (Part D): It is an insurance plan offered by an insurance company to share the cost of prescription drugs. Different insurance plans from different insurance companies have different tiers of drug and deductibles. A monthly premium is required, and the premium varies by plan.
Medicare Advantage Plans are HMO plans offered by insurance companies. Most of the plans cover prescription drugs and provide additional benefits such as eyeglasses, dental, acupuncture, and etc. The minimum premium can be $0.