The U.S. government provides benefits and care coverage to those in need. You should familiarize yourself with those benefits that may be available to you.
A few good resources are the websites maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration. A subset of the available benefits might include:
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older. Individuals younger than 65 with certain disabilities also can qualify. The Medicare website lays out several different parts of the program:
- Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals; skilled nursing facility care; hospice care; and home health care.
- Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other health care providers; outpatient care; home health care; durable medical equipment; and many preventive services.
- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B. It usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) as part of the plan. It is run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare. Plans have a yearly limit on your out-of-pocket costs for medical services. It may include extra benefits and services that aren’t covered under the original Medicare program — sometimes for an extra cost.
- Medicare Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. It is run by Medicare-approved drug plans that follow rules set by Medicare. It may help lower prescription drug costs and protect against higher costs in the future.
- Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) is insurance sold by private companies that can help pay for some of the health care costs that the original Medicare program does not cover.
For more information
In addition to traditional retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also provides benefits to qualifying individuals with disabilities. Options include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance Program: This program pays benefits to people with disabilities and certain members of their family if the individual has worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
- Supplemental Security Income: This program pays benefits to adults and children with disabilities who have limited income and resources.
For more information on both programs
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health care services primarily to low-income individuals. Among those potentially eligible for coverage are people with disabilities and those who receive federally assisted income maintenance payments, such as Supplemental Security Income. Because state governments contribute a substantial amount of funds to Medicaid, benefits vary widely around the country. Nearly all programs help pay for prescription drugs.
For more information
To learn more about government insurance programs, talk to your doctor and research which options may be appropriate for you.