Generally speaking, any citizen or permanent resident of the United States aged 65 years or older is eligible for Medicare benefits. Those who are not yet 65 may also qualify for coverage if they are disabled or suffer from End-Stage Renal disease (ESRD).

Medicare Parts A, B, C and D

Medicare Part A: hospital insurance
Most people do not have to pay for Part A coverage.

Medicare Part B: medical insurance
Generally requires a monthly premium, though some subscribers are exempt from paying it.

Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage
Combines Part A and Part B, and is offered through private insurance companies approved by Medicare.

Medicare Part D: prescription drug coverage insurance
Provided by private companies approved by Medicare. Part D was designed to help people with Medicare to lower their prescription drug costs and to protect against future costs.

To learn more about Medicare Part A, B, C (Medicare Advantage), and D, download Your Medicare Benefits.

Anyone eligible for Medicare Part A (whether actually enrolled or not), or who is currently enrolled in Medicare Part B, may join Medicare Part D to get help paying prescription drug costs. Enrollment in Medicare Part D is voluntary. If a beneficiary does not sign up when first eligible and decides to enroll later, a penalty fee may occur. If you receive benefits from Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) or qualify for Medicaid, the government will automatically enroll you in a Medicare Part D plan through which you will receive your prescription drug coverage.

"Medicare & You" Handbook
You may have received the "Medicare & You" handbook in the mail. The handbook includes details about Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans.

  • Call the Medicare toll-free number to request a copy. 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call TTY (1-877-486-2048)
  • Download the "Medicare & You" Handbook