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
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.
Question: Sometimes late at night or early in the morning, the Medicare.gov site seems not to work -- why is this?
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.
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.