Social Security and Medicare Are Lasting Sources of Independence

July 3, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: July 15, 2021

In July, communities everywhere celebrate our nation’s independence with fireworks, family, and friends. A strong community also creates independence as we help each other recognize our full potential.

Social Security has been helping people maintain a higher quality of life and a level of independence for over 80 years. And Medicare has been doing the same for over five decades. Most people first become eligible for Medicare at age 65. For many older Americans, this is their primary health insurance and without it, they might not enjoy an independent lifestyle.

Medicare can be a little confusing to newcomers so we’ve broken it down into segments. The four parts of Medicare are as easy as A, B, C, and D.

  • Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care. Most people get Medicare Part A premium-free since it is earned by working and paying Social Security taxes.
  • Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other outpatient health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. Some high-income individuals pay more than the standard premium. If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period and then decide to do so later, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage) allows you to choose to receive all of your health care services through a provider organization. This plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B, usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage, and may include extra benefits and services at an extra cost. You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in Part C. Monthly premiums vary depending on the state where you live, private insurer, and whether you select a health maintenance organization or a preferred provider organization.
  • Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Many people pay a premium for Part D. However, people with low income and resources may qualify for Extra Help to pay the premium and deductible. If you don’t enroll in a Medicare drug plan when you’re first eligible, you may pay a late enrollment penalty if you join a plan later. You will have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. To see if you qualify for extra help visit our Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs page.

Will you be age 65 soon? Even if you decide not to retire, you should apply for Medicare. You can apply in less than 10 minutes using our online Medicare application. Visit Medicare Benefits page to learn more about applying for Medicare.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Olga P.

    I have medical but I didn’t receive the form 1095B cause they said I don’t need it but IRS needs the form 1095B to be sure I have i Medicare I have call Medicare they said I should Receive it in 30 days it’s been already seven weeks and I still have not received the form so I called again and they said it’s going to take another 30 days The IRS told me I need it now what do I do help I needed to so I can file my income tax help why does it take so long to receive it O .P.Castro

  2. Sharvari P.

    Very interesting, good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.

  3. Sharvari P.

    Thanks for sharing the useful information. It is really a great blog.

  4. Vaibhav

    You have well define your blog.Information shared is useful.

  5. Arnold R.

    Medicare payment comes from out of your SS payment, THIS IS A DISGRACE WHERE IS MY MEDICARE MONEY THAT I PAID in FOR, FOR OVER 40 YEARS
    it should be paying my Part B payments???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  6. Cynthia A.

    My mother has recently given my power of attorney for finances.
    How can I go about changing the address to receiver her mail from you? She is in a nursing home and we do not wish for her mail to go there.

    • R.F.

      Hi Cynthia. Since it sounds like your mother needs help managing her Social Security benefits, you may be interested in applying to become her representative payee. Please note that having a power of attorney, is not the same as being your mother’s payee. A power of attorney does not give you legal authority to negotiate and manage payments for someone receiving Social Security or SSI payments.
      You must apply for and be appointed as a representative payee by Social Security. If approved to serve as your mother’s representative payee, it will make it easier for you in the future to update account information for her.
      It would be helpful to obtain a statement from her doctor or the nursing home. The statement should say that your mother is not able -mentally and physically- to take care of herself and that you are the person responsible to keep her finances in order.
      We understand how inconvenient this may be for you, but hope you understand our role in protecting everyone’s personal information.
      Please read our publication: A Guide For Representative Payees. If you have specific questions, or to make an appointment, please call 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to speak to one of our representatives. Or you can contact your local Social Security office directly. Thanks!

  7. Daniel G.

    I a veteran with disabilities. I need to enroll in a Medicare/Medicaid plan that supports my VA as my Primary Care. That’s my goal. This entire site is exactly what I need. I will be following these recommendations the best I can. Thank you. (will be 65 9-17-2018).

  8. Bonnie C.

    My name is Bonnie Cole. I turn 65 in July. I wish not to apply for medicare this year. I am employed full time and want to keep my insurance at work. What do I need to do? Thank you

    • nancy

      If your employer insurance does not require medicare eligible employees to have medicare (some small employers do ), then you don’t have to do anything; when you retire or lose your employer insurance ( like if you switch employers and the new one doesn’t offer insurance or the employer drops health coverage) you had a special enrollment window

      • R.F.

        Thank you for sharing your comments, Nancy! We just want to clarify and make sure that everybody understands that a beneficiary may refuse Medicare Part B, during his or her Initial Enrollment Period, if that beneficiary or the spouse, actively works and has coverage under a group health plan based on that employment, then he or she doesn’t need Medicare part B until the work activity ends or that health care coverage is dropped. However, we always suggest that individuals speak to their personnel office, health benefits advisor, or health plan coordinator to see what’s best for them, and to prevent any penalties or delayed enrollment in the future.
        To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods individuals may visit

  9. Jackie G.

    I’m on ssdi and 56 years old, just received notice Medicare eligible and will have to pay monthly. I have insurance through husbands retirement plan that we pay for, do I have to take part b and pay more?

  10. Sutton T.

    I am glad that you talked about how Medicare Part A covers inpatient medical stays. My grandma recently was admitted to the hospital. Thanks for the information on Medicare and Social Security being sources of elderly independence.

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