What Does Medicare Cover? Medicare & You, 2014

The Social Security Administration is not directly responsible for Medicare and SSA employees cannot provide detailed information about Medicare coverage. Along with providing general information, the Social Security role with Medicare is to help people enroll in the program.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a component of the Department of Health & Human Services is the agency in charge of the Medicare program.

Detailed Medicare coverage information is in the CMS annual publication Medicare and You. This official government booklet contains a summary of Medicare benefits, coverage decisions, rights and protections, and answers to the most frequently asked questions about Medicare. Find the 2014 version online at http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf. The Medicare program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. 

The official Medicare website is at www.medicare.gov. The Medicare national toll-free phone number is 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) / TTY 1-877-486-2048.

In October, CMS announced that the standard Medicare Part B (Medical) monthly premium is remaining at $104.90 in 2014, the same as in 2013. The Part B income-related monthly premium rates are also remaining the same as in 2013.

General information about Medicare is at the Social Security Administration website, www.socialsecurity.gov. From the homepage, go to the Benefits tab and then to Medicare. The booklet, Medicare, (SSA publication 05-10043) is a good place to start. 

Medicare age remains 65. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare based on disability, including those having permanent kidney failure. People usually enroll in at least part of Medicare at age 65, even if not planning to start Social Security benefits yet. It takes only about 10 minutes to complete the online Medicare application