The Original Medicare Plan
The Original Medicare Plan has two parts:
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
- What it covers. Medicare Part A helps cover your inpatient care in hospitals,including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not unskilled or longterm care). It also covers hospice care and some home health care. You must meet certain conditions to get these benefits.
- What you pay. Most people don’t have to pay a monthly payment, called a premium, for Medicare
Part A. This is because they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while they were working.
- How to enroll. Most people are enrolled automatically, without taking any action. For more information about enrolling in Medicare Part A, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. Or, look at our Medicare Eligibility Tool.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
- What it covers. Medicare Part B helps cover your doctors’ services, outpatient hospital care, and some other medical services that Medicare Part A doesn’t cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Medicare Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary. It also covers some preventive services.
- What you pay. Most people pay the monthly premium of $78.20 in 2004 for Medicare Part B. However, the cost will go up 10% for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B but didn’t sign up for it, except in special cases. You might have to pay this extra amount as long as you have Part B. You also pay a $100 Part B deductible each year before Medicare starts to pay its share. The Part B deductible will go up to $110 in 2005.
- How to enroll. If you already get Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B. If you aren’t automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B, you will need to contact the Social Security Administration to get enrolled. You can enroll by:
Note: If you get benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you will need to call your local RRB office or 1-800-808-0772 to apply.
- Calling or visiting your local Social Security office. The address and telephone number are in your local telephone book.
- Calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
- Looking at the Social Security Administration’s website at www.socialsecurity.gov on the web. Some people who meet certain conditions are able to enroll by computer.
To learn more about how to enroll in Medicare, look at our publication, Enrolling in Medicare. Or, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
You can also get information about Medicare eligibility and
enrollment by looking at our Medicare Eligibility Tool.
For more information about enrolling in Medicare if you are disabled or have End-Stage Renal Disease, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. Different eligibility rules may apply. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.