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. Since the Social Security Administration is not directly responsible for Medicare, 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 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.
Detailed Medicare coverage information is in the annual publication Medicare and You. This official Medicare booklet contains a summary of Medicare benefits, coverage decisions, rights and protections, and answers to frequently asked Medicare questions.
In October, CMS announced that the standard 2015 Medicare Part B (Medical) monthly premium is remaining at $104.90, the same as in 2014. The standard amount covers only about 25 percent of program costs so some people pay a higher Part B premium based on their IRS tax return modified adjusted gross income. Also unchanged from 2014, those 2015 premium amounts are here. Part B covers physicians’ services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items.
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.