How to Use Medicare.gov

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Determine your eligibility, make a MyMedicare.gov account, sign up for Medicare Advantage or drug plans and more.

Medicare.gov is the official website for Medicare, the U.S. government health care program for seniors and those with certain disabilities. This site is particularly useful for finding providers, comparing plans and learning about policies and costs. Here are some ways you can use it.

Determine your Medicare eligibility

If you’re just getting started with Medicare, checking out Medicare.gov’s eligibility calculator is a good first step. You can find out if you are eligible for Medicare and when to sign up. If your initial enrollment period — the period that starts before your 65th birthday — has already elapsed, you can also get information about the next general enrollment period.

The site’s premium calculator is another tool worth checking out. This tool can be used to calculate your Part B premiums. These can differ depending on your income and penalties for late enrollment. You will be able to see if your income is sufficient to qualify for premium-free Part A, which is the case for most people.

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Register for a MyMedicare.gov Account

Although you don’t have to create an online Medicare.gov profile to access Medicare services, it can be beneficial. You can create a MyMedicare.gov profile to view your preferred health care providers, view claims, deductible statuses, and print official copies if your Medicare card is lost.

To make an account, you’ll need to click the “Log In/Create Account” button on the homepage, and provide the following information:

  • Medicare number (this number is on your red, blue and government-issued Medicare cards).
  • Last name
  • Date of birth.
  • ZIP code
  • Start date for Part A coverage (or Part B if you don’t have Part A).

Register for Medicare Advantage and drug plans

Medicare.gov allows you to compare and sign up Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, which cover prescription drugs. This site has a tool that allows you to compare and sign up for Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans. It also provides information about costs, deductibles, and limits.

However, not all plans are listed. While you can view price ranges for Medigap plans — which provide supplemental coverage to Original Medicare — on the site, you can’t enroll through Medicare.gov for those. These insurers will need to be contacted directly.

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Find Medicare providers

Medicare.gov also offers tools to search for and compare Medicare providers, including:

  • Physicians.
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Services for home health
  • Hospice agencies.
  • Rehabilitation facilities for inpatients
  • Long-term care hospitals.
  • Dialysis services.

This is an easy way for Original Medicare and Original Medicare with Medigap members to search for care close to them or evaluate their options. Before you book any appointments, make sure you check with your insurance about the providers you can use.

For appeals or claims, get paperwork

To get Original Medicare expenses covered, you don’t usually need to file claims. However, providers must do so. You don’t need to file claims if you have Medicare Advantage. Medicare pays private insurers directly.

In some cases, however, providers may not file claims until too late. Medicare won’t pay if the provider files a claim more than 12 months after they have provided services. You can view the status of your claims by logging into your MyMedicare.gov account. You might want to file a claim if this deadline is approaching — for example, if it’s 11 months after you received services and a claim has yet to be filed. Although you cannot file a claim online, Medicare.gov has the forms that you can print.

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The website also provides paperwork and instructions for filing appeals, which you can file when Medicare or your plan denies coverage for a certain service, item or drug and you disagree with the decision. This process varies depending on the type of coverage you have. The appeal will be denied if it is granted.