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Medicare.gov Home or Start Page

Begin with the Medicare.gov Home or Start Page
Where to start with your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan search?

The Medicare.gov site provides users with a number of places to begin - all leading you to the same place. If you wish, you can select "Find health & drug plans" from the left-hand navigation to begin your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan comparison. Alternatively, you can click on one of the other links on the the Medicare.gov Homepage. The Medicare.gov Homepage is often updated so you may find a link under the eighth (right side) top navigation category entitled "Help & Resources" or in the area at the bottom entitled "Take Action". You can also use the first top navigation category "Sign Up / Change Plans" in the upper horizontal navigation to find "Find health & drug plans" in the choices from the drop-down menu box. You can even go to the right of the Medicare.gov Homepage to see the text link "Explore Medicare health plans" with a star graphic. All of these links should move you on to the "Medicare Plan Finder" screen.
Medicare.gov Home Page with a few Highlights of where to begin.

Medicare (CMS) regularly updates their Medicare.gov Website
Originally Medicare provided a date on the bottom of each page to indicate when Medicare (or CMS) had updated their pages.  However, the Medicare (CMS) site does not consistently provide the "Updated" date showing when the Medicare.gov pages were last updated (by the way, we do have a date on our Q1Medicare.com pages to show you when the content was last changed). This means that when you come back to visit the Medicare.gov site, you may wish to take a moment and see if anything on this page has changed since your last visit -- maybe there is a new tool or menu item. Please take time to explore the site for changes.

System updates at Medicare.gov
Question: Sometimes late at night or early in the morning, the Medicare.gov site seems not to work -- why is this?
Answer: 
Most computer departments perform routine maintenance and upgrades when there are the fewest people online who would be disturbed by any potential system changes or outages. Usually changes to a website are tested over a series of "staging" computers before the changes are made to the "live" system (the one that we Internet users see). Even with all these precautions, sometimes a surprise is found and it will temporarily disable some features of the website. If you find the Medicare.gov site is not working properly, the Medicare System Engineers are probably hard at work and you should check back in a few minutes or a few hours. You may also experience a browser "time-out" because the Medicare.gov pages are loading too slowly. A "time-out" can occur during unexpected peak levels of usage - that is, there are more people online than was expected and the Medicare servers are having a little trouble meeting the delivery requests from all of the users. If your browser shows a time-out error, wait a few minutes and refresh your browser screen (hit F5 in some browsers) or use the top browser menu "refresh" option.

Here is a larger, detailed view of the complex Medicare.gov Plan Finder system

The Big Picture: A View of the entire Medicare Plan Finder Process

The Medicare Part D Plan Finder Process Overview:  Here is a complete view of how to move through the Medicare Plan Finder tool. Some of the process areas are not shown in detail, just to minimize the complexity of the diagram. For instance, you can see that the Medicare system allows you to enter your personal Medicare information - however, we did not detail the process at this point. When we had a choice to add more detail, we stayed with the General Search process - assuming that this was more helpful to the majority of Medicare site users. Did we miss any steps? Please feel free to contact us and give us your feedback or input.


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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.