Medicare.gov User Guide

Navigating the Federal Government Website for Medicare

Medicare.gov is the official U.S. government website for Medicare and is managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The site serves as a source for all things Medicare and is loaded with helpful information, useful tools and more.

Because Medicare.gov is so comprehensive and includes many different pages within the site, you can use this guide to help you better navigate the site and find the information you need.

How to get started using the Medicare.gov navigation bar

At the top of the Medicare.gov homepage, you will see a menu of topics from left to right. The menu will look like this:

Medicare.gov plan finder

Hover your cursor or mouse over each section to reveal the following options.

Sign Up/Change Plans

  • Getting started with Medicare – Facts about the different parts of Medicare, when you can enroll and choosing your coverage
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  • Your Medicare coverage choices – Guidance on how to decide between Original Medicare coverage (Part A and Part B), Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), Prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) or Medicare Supplement Insurance
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  • How do I get Part A & B? – Information on the various enrollment situations that may apply to you and the steps to follow
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  • Apply for Medicare online – Links directly to the Social Security Administration website where you can enroll in Medicare
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  • How to get drug coverage – Explains the two ways to get Medicare drug coverage, as well as how to drop or switch your Medicare drug plan
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  • When can I join a health or drug plan? – Information on when and how to enroll in Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Part D drug plan
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  • Types of Medicare health plans – A list of facts about Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Cost plans and other types of Medicare health plans
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  • Find health & drug plans – Links directly to the Medicare Plan Finder
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  • Check your enrollment – Links directly to the Check Your Enrollment tool, a secure web page that allows you to safely access your Medicare information from CMS
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  • Find doctors, hospitals & facilities – Compare hospitals, nursing homes, home health services, doctors, health professionals, long-term care hospitals and other providers and plans

Your Medicare Costs

  • Get help paying costs – Information on Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs (MSP), Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Extra Help and other Medicare cost savings programs
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  • Part A costs – Up-to-date 2019 Medicare Part A costs, including Part A premiums and the Part A late enrollment penalty
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  • Part B costs – Up-to-date 2019 Medicare Part B costs, including Part B premiums, the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), Part B deductibles and coinsurance
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  • Costs for Medicare drug coverage ­– Information on 2018 costs related to premiums, yearly deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, the Medicare Part D coverage gap, late enrollment penalties and the Medicare Extra Help program
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  • Costs for Medicare health plans – Explains out-of-pocket costs that could be associated with a Medicare Advantage plan, including explanations of your plan Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)
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  • Ways to pay Part A & Part B premiums – A guide on how to pay Part A and Part B premiums whether or not you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits or if you have limited income and resources, with additional information on how to pay Medicare premiums online, through Medicare Easy Pay, by check or money order or by credit or debit card
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  • Costs at a glance – More detailed information on the basic 2018 Medicare costs

What Medicare Covers

  • Is my test, item or service covered? – Search tool where you can type your test, item or service to see if and how it is covered by Medicare
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  • Your Medicare coverage choices – An outline of the various Medicare coverage options you can consider
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  • What Part A covers – Details on what, in general, Medicare Part A covers, including how to find out if your necessary services or supplies are covered
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  • What Part B covers – A list of services and medical supplies that are covered by Medicare Part B, such as medically necessary services and preventive services
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  • What drug plans cover – Information about how Medicare drug plans classify drugs in tiers based on a formulary
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  • What Medicare health plans cover – A list the types of Medicare health plans and how to learn what they cover
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  • Preventive & screening services – Another link to the CMS search tool where you can type your test, item or service to see if and how it is covered by Medicare
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  • Find suppliers of medical equipment & supplies – Searchable provider directory, based on your ZIP code
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  • Find doctors, hospitals & facilities – Another link to the list where you can compare hospitals, nursing homes, home health services, doctors, health professionals, long-term care hospitals and other providers and plans
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  • What’s not covered by Part A & Part B? – Outline of some of the services and medical items that Medicare doesn’t cover, which includes vision care, dental care and hearing aids

Drug Coverage (Part D)

  • How to get drug coverage – Information on the two primary ways to get Medicare prescription drug coverage
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  • What drug plans cover – Another link to information about how Medicare drug plans classify drugs in tiers based on a formulary
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  • Costs for Medicare drug coverage – List of common Medicare drug plan costs, including premiums, deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, late enrollment penalties and costs in the Part D coverage gap
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  • When can I join a health or drug plan? – A guide to Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D enrollment periods
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  • How Part D works with other insurance – Links to how Medicare Part D coverage works with employer or union health coverage, COBRA, food stamps (EBT), Medicaid, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Veterans’ benefits and more
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  • Find health & drug plans – Another link to the Medicare Plan Finder tool

Supplements & Other Insurance

  • How Medicare works with other insurance – Explanations of primary payer vs. secondary payer, conditional payments and other coordination of benefits information
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  • Retiree insurance – Details on retiree insurance coverage
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  • What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap?) – More detailed information on Medicare Supplement Insurance, including the benefits that can be covered by plans and rules on Medigap enrollment
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  • Find a Medigap policy – Links directly to the Medicare.gov Medigap Policy Search tool
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  • When can I buy Medigap? – Information about when you can enroll in a Medigap policy, including during your Medigap open enrollment period and at other times of the year
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  • How to compare Medigap policies – Includes a chart that illustrates the standardized 2018 Medigap policy benefits
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  • Medigap & travel – Details about how a Medigap policy may offer coverage outside of the U.S.

Claims & Appeals

  • File a complaint – Information on how to file a complaint with Medicare about your doctor, hospital, provider, health or drug plan, quality of your care, dialysis or kidney transplant care and any difficulties with durable medical equipment
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  • File a claim – Steps to follow in the rare case that you need to file a Medicare claim
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  • Check the status of a claim – Directions on how to check the status of a Medicare Part A or Part B claim
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  • File an appeal – Information on what a Medicare appeal involves and how to start the process
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  • Your right to a fast appeal – Statement on Medicare appeals
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  • Your Medicare rights ­– Details about your rights and protections under Medicare
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  • Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information – Direct link to the CMS form that allows you to authorize Medicare to disclose your personal health information to a third party

Manage Your Health

  • Login to MyMedicare.gov – Direct link to MyMedicare.gov
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  • Medicare forms – A guide to help you find any Medicare forms you need
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  • Advance directives & long-term care – Details how to use advance directives, which explain how you want medical decisions to be made on your behalf in situations when you’re too ill to voice your own desires at the time
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  • Electronic prescribing – Explains how prescribers can electronically send your prescriptions directly to a pharmacy
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  • Electronic Health Records (EHRs) – Explains the information that may be kept on a computer about your health care history, treatments, tests, prescriptions and other information
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  • Download claims with Medicare’s Blue Button – A guide to how you can use the Medicare Blue Button to download your personal health information and link that information to other health care applications, programs and research programs
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  • Coordinating your care – Details Medicare’s coordinated care programs, which include Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Comprehensive Primary Care initiative and the Oncology Care Model

Forms, Help & Resources

The following pages include links where you can download important forms and publications, as well as information on how to contact Medicare for a range of issues.

  • Find health & drug plans
  • Find doctors, hospitals & facilities
  • Get help paying costs
  • Find suppliers of medical equipment & supplies
  • Medicare forms
  • Free Medicare publications
  • “Medicare & You” handbook
  • Mail you get about Medicare
  • Lost/incorrect Medicare card
  • Report fraud & abuse
  • File a complaint
  • Identity theft: protect yourself
  • Phone numbers & websites
  • Privacy practices
  • Contact Medicare

How to use the Medicare.gov plan finder

Medicare.gov plan finder

The Medicare.gov find-a-plan tool is a helpful way to search for Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C, which Medicare.gov frequently refers to as “Medicare health plans”) and Medicare prescription drug plans (Medicare Part D) in your local area.

To get started using the plan finder, you can select to use either a general search or a personalized search.

You will next be taken to a page that allows you to refine your search based on a range of criteria. You can filter your search results based factors such as your health status, whether or not the plans offer prescription drug coverage or other factors.

Another way you can find Medicare Advantage plans that may be available in your area is by speaking with a licensed insurance agent. They will be able to help you find plans and compare the benefits, costs and other details associated with each plan.

Create a MyMedicare.gov account

A site that is closely related to Medicare.gov is called “MyMedicare.gov.” This can be found under the “Manage Your Health” menu and is where you may register an account to access your personalized information at any time, which can allow you to:

  • Check the status of your Medicare claims as soon as they are processed
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  • Look up your eligibility, entitlement and preventive service information
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  • View your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan enrollment information
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  • Check your remaining Part B deductible amount
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  • Manage your prescription medication list
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  • Print an “On the Go Report,” which is a report of your health information that you may supply to a health care provider prior to an appointment

Additional tools on Medicare.gov

Below is a list of some additional tools available on Medicare.gov.

Find doctors and other health care providers
You can find Medicare-accepting doctors in your area by searching for names, conditions, specialty practice or even body parts.

Find hospitals
Search for hospitals by location or name.

Find home health services
Find Medicare-covered home health services and learn more about what it is included.

Find dialysis facilities
Use data to compare dialysis facilities based on surveys regarding patient care and experience.

Find nursing homes
Search for Medicare-approved nursing homes by name or location and compare the quality of care provided by each.

Find suppliers of medical equipment and supplies
With just your zip code you can find local suppliers of durable medical equipment (DME) and supplies that are Medicare-accredited.

Find long-term care hospitals
Using a zip code, city or state search, you can use this tool to find and compare long-term hospitals based on things like infection rates and more.

Find inpatient rehabilitation facilities
Learn how Medicare covers inpatient rehabilitation facilities and compare ones in your area based on various criteria.

Find hospice care
Use this tool to locate hospice care agencies that can provide care in your home or at a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Coverage lookup
One of the most widely utilized tools on Medicare.gov is the coverage lookup tool. Simply enter a test, item or service in the search box and click “Go.” You will then be presented with a detailed summary of how Medicare covers what you need including cost breakdowns and eligibility for coverage.

Medicare.gov dropdown menus

Dropdown menus

On the Medicare.gov home page, you will see three dropdown menus titled:

  1. Address change/Medicare card issue?
  2. Information for my situation
  3. Find someone to talk to

Each of these menus is a doorway for information pertaining to your situation.

For “Address change/Medicare card issue?” you may select any of the following by clicking on the small arrow directly to the left of the word “Go”:

  • Change your name or address
  • Replace a lost or damaged card
  • Report a stolen card

For “Information for my situation,” select either:

  • I’m getting started with Medicare
  • I have employer coverage
  • I have a disability
  • I need or get Extra Help/Medicaid
  • I’m outside the U.S.
  • I have End-Stage Renal Disease

For “Find someone to talk to,” simply select your state from the dropdown menu to see a list of statewide resources related to health care, insurance, legal help and more.