What is Medicare?
Medicare is our universal health insurance for people 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease.
The red, white and blue card you receive from Social Security encompasses the two primary parts of Medicare known as “Original Medicare,” also called Medicare Parts A & B. Medicare Part D, known as the "Medicare Prescription Drug Program," is also available to many people. However, drug coverage is not part of the base benefit provided on your card. Also, enrollment into Medicare Part A & B is automatic for some, but not all people. Part D enrollment into Medicare is not automatic for most. For more specific guidance, please see the appropriate section of our site.
What actions must I take?
If you have your Medicare card in hand, there are several things to do next. The first is: decide if you need Medicare Part B. Some people might get this benefit from an employer and do not need to have it. It is very important you contact your benefits administrator to make this determination. People who refuse Part B without other coverage in place may experience penalties and a delay in enrollment later on when they choose to pick up Part B. When in doubt, contact the Medicare office or a knowledgeable advisor to help you sort out your personal situation.
If you have determined you need Medicare Part B and there is no secondary coverage being given to you, you must decide if you need Medicare Part D: the Prescription Drug Plan, and supplemental coverage, known as a Medigap policy. You may also check to see if there is a Medicare Health Plan, also called a Medicare Advantage plan, available to you in your area. We strongly encourage you to seek advice from a knowledgeable insurance advisor to help determine your best options.
Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year.