Medicare Parts A and B "Test yourself" transcript


Congress created Medicare in 1965 to help mature Americans, regardless of their income or medical history. Medicare covers people who are 65 and over, and people with some disabilities. We're going to talk about 'Original Medicare,' which includes Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage and is managed by the federal Government.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It helps to cover most of your inpatient care at a hospital... care at a skilled nursing facility after a hospital stay... and even some home health care and hospice care.

Say for instance, you're walking down the street and fall into a manhole. Your hospital stay is covered by Part A but you'll have to pay a deductible before your costs are covered. After a few days, you're improving but still need care, so the doctor sends you to a Nursing Home to recover. Your nursing home stay is also covered by Part A.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is medical insurance. You pay an annual deductible, plus a monthly premium to the federal government, which covers things like doctor visits, medical services and supplies. For example: While roller-skating, you fall and hurt your knee, so you go to the doctor. (Covered by Part B.) You need a cane for a few weeks, The cane is durable medical equipment, so it too, is covered by Part B.

To quickly review, "Original Medicare" is managed by the federal government. It consists of Part A: hospital insurance, and Part B: medical insurance. You can choose either or both. Since Medicare eligibility begins at 65, it's a good idea to make coverage decisions before your 65th birthday. You have a 7-month enrollment period to sign up for Original Medicare. You can sign up 3 months before your 65th birthday, the month of, and the three months after. If you already receive social security benefits, you'll be enrolled in Original Medicare automatically, and get your red, white and blue card 3 months before your 65th birthday. If you're not already receiving Social Security benefits, you'll need to enroll in Part A - and Part B if you want it. Even if you're still working when you turn 65, you should enroll in Medicare Part A.

Enrolling in Medicare

There are three easy ways to enroll: visit your local SSA office; call the SSA at 800.772.1213, or sign up online at

Since most people become eligible for Medicare at age 65, it's a good idea to decide what kind of Medicare you want before your 65th birthday.