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Medicare is the government-subsidized health care insurance plan that individuals are eligible to receive when they turn 65 years old, or if they qualify for coverage due to certain chronic medical conditions (such as kidney disease). It is broken into three parts: Medicare Part A (covers hospitalizations), Medicare Part B (covers doctor’s fees and other ancillary costs), and Medicare Part D (the prescription drug benefit). Medicare Part C is a private insurance–managed care product that covers A, B, and C. People are eligible to sign up for Medicare eight months before their 65th birthday.


There are financial penalties for late enrollment.