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You’re almost 65, or perhaps you’re older, and planning to navigate Medicare may seem overwhelming. Here are answers to a few questions to help you get started. 

What is Medicare?

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, or younger than 65 with certain disabilities. It consists of four parts: Part A (hospital costs), Part B (doctor and outpatient care), Part C (Medicare Advantage, which combines hospital, doctor, outpatient care and usually prescription drugs) and Part D (prescription drugs only).

How do I know if I qualify?

Most people age 65 and older qualify for Medicare if they have made payroll contributions for 10 or more years. If you’re already getting Social Security, you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65.

When can I enroll in Medicare?

The Medicare open enrollment period is Oct. 15–Dec. 7, effective Jan. 1 of the following year. For first-timers, there is a seven-month initial enrollment period that starts three months before they turn 65, the month they turn 65 and three months after their 65th birthday.

For more information on Medicare, please visit