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Getting started with Medicare

If you’re just getting started with Medicare, consider these things:

  1. Find out if you’re eligible for Medicare. You’ll get an estimate of when you’re eligible for Medicare and your premium amount. You’ll also get information about whether you’ll get Medicare automatically or need to sign up. 
  2. Figure out if you’ll get Medicare automatically or if you need to sign up. Medicare has 2 main parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Some people get Part A and Part B automatically, but others need to sign up. 
  3. Decide how you want to get your coverage, including Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). There are 2 main ways to get your Medicare coverage— Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). Learn about these coverage choices and 3 steps to help you decide how to get your coverage.
  4. Fill out an "Initial Enrollment Questionnaire" (IEQ) so your bills are paid correctly and on time. About 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts, you’ll get an IEQ in the mail. It asks about other health insurance you have that might pay before Medicare does, like group health plan coverage from your or a family member’s employer, liability insurance, or workers' compensation. You can also complete the IEQ online at
  5. If you have other health insurance, you can learn how Medicare works with other insurance. If you’re retired and have coverage from a former employer, there are 5 things to know about retiree coverage
  6. Learn about 5 things to do in your first year with Medicare.

You can get personalized health insurance counseling at no cost to you from your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).