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Understanding Medicare

If you are retired or approaching retirement, it’s important to understand the details of Medicare so you can plan accordingly. Review this infographic to gain insight into Medicare basics, Medicare eligibility requirements, the differences between Medicare and Medicaid and more. An Ameriprise advisor can also provide guidance based on your health care needs in retirement and help you make the most of your Medicare benefits.

Age 65 or older qualify for full Medicare benefits if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident for the past five years.
  • You are receiving or are eligible for Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits.
  • You or your spouse is a government employee or retiree who has not paid into Social Security but has paid Medicare payroll taxes while working.

Under age 65 or older qualify for full Medicare benefits if:

  • You are entitled to Social Security disability benefits for at least two years.
  • You receive a disability pension from the Railroad Retirement Board and meet certain conditions.
  • You have Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
  • You are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.

Medicare parts A-D

What are the differences between the four parts of the program?

Part A:

Hospital insurance

  • Covers care you receive while you are inpatient at a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
  • Most people pay no premium for Part A. But you will pay a deductible and co-pays.
  • In 2022, the deductible for hospitalizations is $1,556. Co-pays range from $0 to $778, depending on the length of your hospital stay.

Part B:

Medical insurance

  • Covers doctor visits, routine medical services such as flu shots and emergency medical services.
  • You pay a $233 deductible and 20 percent co-pay for most services provided.

Part C:

Medicare Advantage

  • Provided by private insurance companies, Medicare Advantage plans provide Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, often along with additional benefits including some preventive services, vision and dental coverage.
  • Premiums vary by insurer, benefits offered and where you live.
  • Rates are regulated by the government. Often premiums can be lower than Medicare Parts A and B.

Part D:

Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)

  • Provides prescription drug coverage.
  • These plans are administered by private insurers and can be purchased in tandem with Original Medicare or bundled into your Medicare Advantage plan choices.
  • Coverage and costs vary by plan.

What are the Medicare enrollment periods?

What is Medicare Advantage?

This alternative Medicare coverage plan is provided by a private insurance company approved by Medicare. It collects your Medicare payments from the federal government. Coverage includes items covered under Part A, B and D along with additional healthcare insurance benefits like dental, vision and $0 cost copays.

How to apply for Medicare

• Visit local Social Security office.

• Call the Social Security Office at (800) 772.1213.

• Mail a signed letter to the Social Security office (include your name, SSN and the date you wish to be enrolled).

• Apply online at

Download our Medicare guide

Choosing your retirement health coverage is an important decision that can be complicated. This guide will help you to understand Medicare and the choices available to you.

Download Now

How an Ameriprise financial advisor can help

Given the costs and milestones for Medicare enrollment, meeting with a financial advisor prior to retirement is an important component of planning for the future. An Ameriprise financial advisor will help you to understand the basics of Medicare, as well as discuss other options to help you cover health costs in retirement so you can feel more prepared for the future.

A financial advisor can walk you through your Medicare choices and review solutions that best fit your financial situation.

Or, request an appointment online to speak with an advisor.


At Ameriprise, the financial advice we give each of our clients is personalized, based on your goals and no one else's. 

If you know someone who could benefit from a conversation, please refer me.

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