Starting Medicare: What You Need to Know

When you become eligible for Medicare, it can be overwhelming to navigate the enrollment process and understand your coverage options. This guide will cover the key steps you need to take when starting Medicare.

Understand the different parts of Medicare

Medicare has four parts: A, B, C, and D. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nurture care, hospice care, and some home health care. Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient care, and preventive services. Part C is also known as Advantage, which is an alternative way to receive Medicare benefits through private insurance companies. Part D covers prescription drug coverage.


Enroll in Medicare when starting

You can enroll in Medicare during the initial enrolment period (IEP) that occurs three months before you are 65, your birthday month, and the three months after your birthday month. You can also enroll during the general enrolment period that runs from January 1 to March 31 each year.

Choose between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage

When starting Medicare, you have the choice between Part A, B and C. Original Medicare is available by the federal government, while Medicare Advantage is offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans typically offer additional benefits, such as vision, dental, and hearing coverage.

Consider Medigap coverage when starting

If you choose Original Medicare, you may also want to consider purchasing a Medigap policy to supplement your coverage. Medigap policies are private insurance policies that can help cover out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles and coinsurance.


In conclusion, starting Medicare can be a complex process, but by understanding the different parts of Medicare, enrolling during the appropriate periods, choosing between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, considering Medigap coverage, and reviewing prescription drug coverage options, you can make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage. It’s vital to carefully consider your options and choose the plan that best meets your needs and budget.

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