Medicare is available to people age 65 or older, as well as younger people with certain disabilities. Here you can learn more about the benefits covered by Medicare, and you can use our interactive tools to find cheap Medicare plans in your area.

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Learn about the different types of Medicare insurance policies

Medicare can be broken down into four different types of coverage.

The two main ways of obtaining Medicare are:

  1. Get Part A and B plans, with the option of adding Part D or Medigap.
  2. Get a bundled Part C plan (includes Part A, B, and usually Part D).

Part A

Part B

Part C

Part D

Also known as hospital insurance, Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, hospice care and, in some cases, home health care. If you were in the workforce for more than 10 years, or 40 quarters, then you will likely not have to pay for Medicare Part A.

Part A

Also known as hospital insurance, Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, hospice care and, in some cases, home health care. If you were in the workforce for more than 10 years, or 40 quarters, then you will likely not have to pay for Medicare Part A.

Part B

Part B provides coverage for medical needs including outpatient care and visits to the doctor. It covers both preventative and medically necessary services. Medicare Part A and part B make up Original Medicare, which is managed by the federal government.

Part C

Also known as Medicare Advantage, Part C is offered by private companies. People who buy Part C pay for:

  • Part A: Usually free
  • Part B: Cost set each year by the government
  • Part C: Cost set by the private insurance company

Part C offers coverage for services not offered by Parts A and B, such as dental and vision care.

Part D

Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of a wide range of medications, including prescription drugs.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap)

Medigap is a supplemental health insurance coverage that you can add to your Original Medicare policy. It provides coverage for costs not covered by Medicare Parts A and B, such as deductibles, coinsurance and out-of-pocket costs.

Guide to Medicare

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1. How old do you have to be to get Medicare?

You must be 65 or older in order to qualify for Medicare. However, some younger people with certain disabilities can also qualify for Medicare.

Medicare Eligibility Calculator

Calculate your initial seven month Medicare enrollment period by entering your date of birth.

Birth date


Your initial enrollment period based on your age is

Enter your birth date

Note that your enrollment period may differ if you currently have a disability or have certain medical conditions.


2. How do I sign up for Medicare?

There are a couple of ways to sign up for Medicare. If you apply for retirement or disability benefits through Social Security, it will automatically include an application for Original Medicare (Parts A and B).

If you are interested in signing up only for Medicare, you can submit an application on the Social Security Administration website. You can apply for Medicare Parts C and D at

It's important to note that you must have Original Medicare (Parts A and B), as well as a Medicare account number in order to sign up for Part C or D.

You can also apply for Medicare by calling 1-800-772-1213.


3. What documents do I need to apply for Medicare?

In order to apply for Medicare, you will likely need your birth certificate, U.S driver's license or passport, Social Security number, current health insurance information, tax records (W-2), and records of military service, if applicable.

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Callers to QWIS will be directed to a licensed and certified representative of Medicare Supplement insurance and/or Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP and PFFS organizations. Calls to QWIS will be routed to a licensed agent who can provide you with further information about the insurance plans offered by one or more third-party partners of QWIS. Each of the organizations they represent has a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal.

Availability of benefits and plans varies by carrier and location and may be limited to certain times of the year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. QWIS does not offer every plan available in your area. Any information provided is limited to those plans offered in your area. Please contact or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.

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