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Get started with Medicare

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older. You’re first eligible to sign up for Medicare 3 months before you turn 65. You may be eligible to get Medicare earlier if you have a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Medicare offers different options for you to get health care coverage.


Parts of Medicare

Part A (Hospital Insurance): Helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. Part B (Medical Insurance): Helps cover:

  • Services from doctors and other health care providers

  • Outpatient care

  • Home health care

  • Durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and other equipment)

  • Many preventive services (like screenings, shots or vaccines, and yearly “Wellness” visits)


Part D (Drug coverage): Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs (including many recommended shots or vaccines). You join a Medicare drug plan in addition to Original Medicare , or you get it by joining a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage. Plans that offer Medicare drug coverage are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare. Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap): Extra insurance you can buy from a private company that helps pay your share of costs in Original Medicare. Policies are standardized, and in most states named by letters, like Plan G or Plan K. The benefits in each lettered plan are the same, no matter which insurance company sells it.

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Still need health insurance?

You can enroll in or change plans if you have certain life events or income, or qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.

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