What services are covered by Medicare?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The services covered by Medicare (health insurance for the elderly) depend on the plan you choose or qualify for. Here’s how it breaks down.

- Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) covers healthcare services such as nursing home care, hospice, home care, inpatient care, critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities.

- Medicare Part B (Medicare insurance) covers laboratory and diagnostic tests, some artificial limbs, eyeglasses, and chiropractic care. It may also pay for occupational and physical therapy.

- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) covers urgent care and emergency services.

- Medicare Part D covers prescription medication.


For a complete list of covered services, check your Medicare handbook or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Medicare has two parts:

Part A - Hospital Insurance Most people do not have to pay for Part A.
Helps Pay For: Care in hospitals as an inpatient, critical access hospitals (small facilities that give limited outpatient and inpatient services to people in rural areas), skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health care.

Cost: Most people get Part A automatically when they turn age 65. They do not have to pay a monthly payment called a premium for Part A because they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while they were working.

If you (or your spouse) did not pay Medicare taxes while you worked and you are age 65 or older, you still may be able to buy Part A. If you are not sure you have Part A, look on your red, white, and blue Medicare card. It will show Hospital Part A on the lower left corner of the card. You can also call the Social Security Administration toll free or call your local Social Security office for more information about buying Part A. If you get benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, call your local RRB office.

Part B - Medical Insurance Most people pay monthly for Part B.
Helps Pay For: Doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, and some other medical services that Part A does not cover, such as the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.