Medicare is health insurance primarily for people 65 or older, those with certain health issues, or those who qualify for disability. This federal tax-supported program becomes an individual’s primary health insurance at age 65.
Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older. You may be eligible to get Medicare earlier if you:
- Qualify for security disability
- Have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- Have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
However, Medicare does not cover most long-term health care services. Medicare will pay for 20 days of skilled nursing.
In some cases, Medicare supplements (purchased through any insurance company) may pay for 21 to 100 days of skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing care can include a nursing home, rehab, or occasionally in-home care. Medicare supplements are required to meet federal guidelines.
To put that into perspective, most long-term health care services revolve around activities of daily living. That can include help with dressing, bathing, and other chores necessary for living everyday life. It can also include supervision for cognitive illnesses like dementia.
Medicare offers comprehensive health care, not long-term health care. There are many different options within Medicare. For more information, you can visit the federal Medicare website.