Social Security and Medicare have a few things in common. Both programs help safeguard millions of Americans as well as improve the quality of life for our family and friends. Although both programs are household names, many people may not be familiar with the details of Medicare.

Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. The program helps with the cost of health care, but it doesn’t cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. You have choices for how you get Medicare coverage. If you choose to have original Medicare coverage, you can buy a Medicare supplement policy (called Medigap) from a private insurance company to cover some of the costs that Medicare does not.

If you can’t afford to pay your Medicare premiums and other medical costs, you may be able to get help from your state. States offer programs for people eligible for or entitled to Medicare who have low income. Some programs may pay for Medicare premiums and some pay Medicare deductibles and coinsurance. To qualify, you must have Medicare Part A and have limited income and resources.

You can learn more about Medicare, including how to apply for Medicare and get a replacement Medicare card, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare.

Medicare’s different parts are further explained in our publication at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf.