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Medicare Basics

Before you enroll in Medicare it's important to understand how it works, become familiar with some of the terms and know when to sign up. Here's some basic information to help you get started.


What's Medicare Part A and B?

Medicare Part A and B, also called Original Medicare, is the health insurance you get from the government. It covers many, but not all, health needs. Parts A and B include hospital care, doctor visits, mental health care, lab tests and medical equipment, like wheelchairs and walkers.


What's Medicare Part C?

Medicare Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage. Part C includes all the benefits of Parts A and B, with many plans offering drug coverage and dental and vision options. You can sign up through the UAW Trust for Medicare Part C coverage such as Medicare Plus BlueSM Group PPO, a Blue Cross Medicare Advantage plan that fills in what Parts A and B leave out.


What's Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D is a prescription drug plan that you can also get through the Trust. It's easy to remember if you think "D" for drugs.


When to sign up for Medicare

If you're turning 65 soon, you've probably received information from the U.S. government about Medicare, including important dates and deadlines. Unless you have special health conditions, you can enroll in Medicare:

  • in the three months before your 65th birthday month 
  • during your 65th birthday month
  • in the three months after your 65th birthday month

We recommend you enroll before turning 65.


Interested in finding out more?

If you want to learn even more about Medicare, take a look at the Medicare 101 help pages. You'll find information about Medicare that goes beyond the basics.