Start shopping for Medicare plans by finding out what’s available in your area.
Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plans are offered through private companies regionally. Each has a specific geographic service area where it operates. You must live in a plan’s service area in order to join it. So the plans available where you live may be very different from what’s available to a friend or relative living elsewhere.
You can get a list of plans in your area at Medicare.gov or by calling the Medicare Helpline at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Medicare’s list of plans includes contact numbers. Call each plan directly to get more specific information to help you compare your choices. Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can also be of help.
You can also contact Medicare Made Clear at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711. Representatives are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
Important: If you have End Stage Renal Disease, there are some special rules for you. Contact the Medicare Helpline or your state Medical Assistance program for more information.
Keep reading for more information
Ask for help if you need it.
Financial assistance programs are available to help with the costs of Medicare for those with lower incomes. If you think you might qualify, apply as soon as you can. It can take several months to process your application. You’ll want to find out if you're eligible and how much help you qualify for.
If you’re enrolling for the first time, act quickly.
You don’t want to miss your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). For most, it begins three months before the month you turn 65, runs through your birth month and ends three months after your birth month. Acting fast can help ensure that your Medicare coverage begins when you want it to begin. Also, you can avoid paying late enrollment premium penalties.