Medicare Questions

Medicare Questions

If you have questions about Medicare, you’re in good company. It can be confusing. There are a lot of choices and a lot of rules surrounding the government health plan for U.S. citizens age 65 and older. Medicare also offers health coverage for some younger people with certain health problems.

We’re here to help demystify the process and add some clarity. Here’s a quick “Medicare 101” primer to shed light on a few need-to-know aspects of Medicare.

First, it’s important to know Medicare has four “parts.”

  • Part A is hospital insurance.
  • Part B is medical insurance.
  • Part C is Medicare Advantage. It’s offered by insurance companies and approved by Medicare. It includes Parts A and B, and even Part D.
  • Part D is a prescription drug plan.

Another element is Medicare Supplement – also called Medigap. Medicare Supplement pays some expenses not covered by Parts A and B.

Where to Get Answers leaving site icon offers a guide to help you get started. Another good resource is the National Council on Aging leaving site icon.

Your health plan is another place you can turn to for information. You can always find answers by going to or by calling the customer service number on the back of your member ID card. 

Here are answers to some common questions:

What is a Late Enrollment Penalty? If you do not join a Medicare drug plan when you are first eligible and don’t have other drug coverage, you may have to pay a penalty leaving site icon.

What is a Special Enrollment Period? You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare drug plan if certain things change in your life. The special enrollment period leaving site icon can be triggered by moving to a place not in your current plan’s service area or by some plan changes.

What is a Low-Income Subsidy or Extra Help? People with limited income may get help paying for their prescription drugs. The Social Security Administration leaving site icon or a state Medicaid office can fill you in on all the facts.

How can I Pay My Premiums? You can pay through Social Security deductions. Or you can pay by mail or automatic payment from a checking or savings account.

Sources: Getting Started, leaving site icon U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Medicare Matters, leaving site icon National Council on Aging; Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs, leaving site icon Social Security Administration.
Important Plan Information

Originally published 10/14/2018; Revised 2021; Reviewed 2022