What does Medicare cover?

Understanding What Medicare Covers: A Comprehensive Guide


Medicare is a vital healthcare program in the United States, providing coverage for millions of Americans aged 65 and older, as well as some individuals with certain disabilities. However, navigating the complexities of Medicare coverage can be challenging. In this guide, we’ll delve into what Medicare covers, including its various parts and the services and supplies they encompass.


Part A: Hospital Insurance Medicare Part A primarily covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care services. Here’s a breakdown of what Part A covers:

  1. Inpatient Hospital Care: This includes semi-private rooms, meals, general nursing, and other hospital services and supplies.
  2. Skilled Nursing Facility Care: Medicare covers skilled nursing care provided in a skilled nursing facility under certain conditions for a limited time.
  3. Hospice Care: For individuals with a terminal illness, Medicare covers hospice care, including comfort care and support services for both the individual and their family.
  4. Home Health Care: Medicare covers part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology services, medical social services, durable medical equipment (DME), and other services.

Part B: Medical Insurance Medicare Part B primarily covers outpatient services, preventive services, and medically necessary services and supplies. Here’s what Part B covers:

  1. Doctor’s Services: Medicare covers visits to doctors and other health care providers, including outpatient care and some preventive services.
  2. Outpatient Care: This includes services such as lab tests, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests, as well as durable medical equipment (DME) like wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen equipment.
  3. Preventive Services: Medicare covers a range of preventive services, such as screenings for cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions, as well as flu shots, vaccinations, and counseling to help prevent illness and disease.
  4. Mental Health Services: Part B covers outpatient mental health care, including visits to psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and clinical social workers.
  5. Ambulance Services: Medicare covers medically necessary ambulance transportation to the nearest appropriate facility when other transportation could endanger your health.

Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an alternative to traditional Medicare (Parts A and B). These plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare and typically include all benefits covered by Part A and Part B, and often prescription drug coverage (Part D), and may include additional benefits like vision, dental, and hearing coverage.


Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage through private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans help cover the cost of prescription drugs, including both brand-name and generic drugs, and vary in terms of premiums, deductibles, and co-payments.


Understanding what Medicare covers is essential for ensuring you have the healthcare services and supplies you need as you age or if you have certain disabilities. While this guide provides a broad overview, it’s important to review your specific coverage options and needs with a qualified Medicare advisor or healthcare professional. With the right knowledge and coverage, you can navigate Medicare with confidence and peace of mind.