Whenever the subject of health care comes up in conversation you are likely to hear about Medicare and HMO’s. These are the two most common providers of health care to all citizens in the United States. However, there is a major difference between the two. An HMO is a private company that provides health care coverage to individuals and families at a cost. Medicare is a government program that provides health care coverage to those who are over the age of 65 or who met other special conditions.
There is a major difference between having an HMO and having the public coverage given by the government. An HMO provides coverage for a premium each month. You have options over how much coverage you want and thus how much it is going to cost you. Different HMO’s offer different rates and services, so you should look into as many of them as possible. If you are over 65 years old or met special conditions (for a list of conditions see a government website) then you will be on Medicare. This program is a government run single payer system that is paid for with taxpayer dollars. You do not have to “pay” for this coverage because you have already paid for it when you were in your working years.
Clearly just about everyone would like to have the public coverage because it would be free for them. However, currently under US law only those over 65 are allowed to be on this plan. There is a push to allow everyone onto this system, but it has not gained a lot of traction with the general public. For the time being, it looks like we will all just have to stick with our HMO’s.