What is Medicare? Medicare is a government health insurance program for people age 65 and older. Medicare Part A covers hospital care and hospice. Medicare Part B is medical insurance that pays for doctor's visits and preventive and outpatient care. Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage Plans are an alternative to original Medicare in which private insurance companies pay for Medicare approved and sometimes other services, but with different prices and restrictions than original Medicare. Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage. Retirees can also purchase Medicare supplemental policies called Medigap to pay for original Medicare's out-of-pocket costs and additional services Medicare doesn't cover.