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New to Medicare Guide

A Simple Guide to Help You Take Control of Your Health Insurance

Medicare can be tricky, but we’re here to help you make sense of everything and get ready to enroll.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 or older and younger people with certain disabilities.

Medicare includes four parts (Parts A, B, C, D) but Original Medicare is Part A and Part B.

PART A covers inpatient hospital care, hospice care, inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility, and home health care services.

PART B covers medical care and services provided by doctors and other medical practitioners.

The Basics

There’s a lot to learn about Medicare, so let’s start with the basics.


Know your enrollment dates. If you are late, it could cost you.

After Enrollment

Watch for your enrollment packet in the mail.

Coverage & Benefits

When you understand how Part A and Part B coverage work, you can take steps toward selecting benefits and the health coverage you need. Original Medicare provides affordable insurance but frankly does not cover all of your costs and has minimal coverage and benefits.

  • To improve your healthcare coverage and safeguard your personal finances, you should add a Part D plan (for prescription drug coverage) and a Medigap plan (to minimize healthcare costs that Original Medicare alone leaves you susceptible to).
  • You also have the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, which not only includes Parts A and B but in most cases additional benefits like dental, vision, hearing, prescription drug coverage, and more. Most Medicare Advantage plans are offered at no cost to you too.

Learn more about the parts of Medicare, and Medicaid.

Original Medicare covers 80% of hospital visits and medical care through Part A and Part B. It has minimal prescription drug coverage, which is why many people will add a Part D prescription drug plan as additional coverage. It may seem odd, but Part D is a stand-alone plan that you must elect to get proper prescription drug coverage.

The same is true for dental, hearing or vision plans, which aren’t covered by Original Medicare (Part A and B). If you would rather bundle all these services into one plan, consider Medicare Advantage.

Whether you’re new to Medicare, or in need of adjusting your coverage later down the line, give yourself enough time to compare your options. The wrong coverage or missing an enrollment deadline could end up costing you more you think.

Pro Tip: If you delay Part B enrollment when first eligible, you may be responsible for a lifetime late enrollment penalty once you enroll later.

Enrolling in Medicare for the First Time

Ilustration of running girl with paper

Did you know you have seven months surrounding your 65 birthday month to enroll?

Yes. It’s called your Initial Enrollment Period. For many, it’s the month of your 65 birthday, the three months before, and the three months after your birthday month. For those born on the first of the month, it’s the month of your 65 birthday, the four months before, and the two months after your birthday month.

Life happens. We know and so does Medicare. If you miss your opportunity to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period, a General Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31 allows enrollment and coverage will start July 1.

Pro Tip: You have a lot of time to compare and research Medicare plans the first time you enroll. Take advantage of the time to ask questions and think about what type of coverage you’ll need.

Eligibility & Enrollment

Medicare Enrollment Calculator

Discover when your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period is.

You are 97 days away from enrollment.

Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period is open between April 1, 2021 and October 31, 2021.

Life is busy. Set a calendar reminder so you won't forget:

Congratulations! Your Medicare initial enrollment period is open.

You can enroll between December 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Contact a GoHealth Licensed Insurance Agent today.

Our goal is to enroll you in a plan that is right for you, lowers your cost and gives you the most benefits (like prescriptions, vision, hearing and/or dental) that you are entitled to.

Your Medicare initial
enrollment period is closed.

Most people have seven months to first enroll in Medicare.
Your initial enrollment period was between: January 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.

Don't worry!

We can check if you qualify for Medicare enrollment even if your initial enrollment period has passed. Contact a GoHealth licensed insurance agent for next steps:

New to Medicare Articles

The Basics

We know you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be. We created these articles to help you get started with Medicare.

basic facts & faqs medicare plans: pros & cons hmo vs. ppo pro tips medicare myths


How to enroll in Medicare for the first time, and how to avoid the mistakes we hear all the time.

eligibility & enrollment enrollment mistakes to avoid enrollment checklist missed your enrollment period?

After Enrollment

You’re enrolled, congrats! Don’t miss your enrollment packet in the mail.

enrollment packet

Additional Learning Guides

Discover how GoHealth can help you.

Speak with our licensed insurance agents, anytime.

1-855-792-0088 TTY: 711

Mon - Fri, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. CT

This website is operated by GoHealth, LLC., a licensed health insurance company. The website and its contents are for informational and educational purposes; helping people understand Medicare in a simple way. The purpose of this website is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by a licensed insurance agent/producer or insurance company. Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. Our mission is to help every American get better health insurance and save money.
Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.