Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

4 Key Factors To Consider

Take a close look at your circumstances and needs as you plan for Medicare

spinner image collage of four images - a man in a doctor's office,  couple sitting on their front porch, stethoscope and calculator on top of currency, and an insurance claim form

Viewing your Medicare coverage decisions through the following four categories can help you zero in on which plans will work best for you. 

Your health

  • Do you want to keep your doctors or are you open to changing? Original Medicare allows you to maintain your current provider – if they accept Medicare – while Medicare Advantage relies on specific networks of doctors and hospitals.
  • Do you have a preexisting condition? Medicare will cover your preexisting conditions, whether you choose Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.
  • Are you taking medications regularly? If so, you’ll want to make sure the prescription drug plan you’re considering covers all your medicines.
  • Are you willing to change pharmacies? Some prescription plans have preferred pharmacies where you’ll pay less for your medicines.
spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine. Find out how much you could save in a year with a membership. Learn more.

Join Now

Your home

  • Do you expect to travel around the country or abroad? Original Medicare will cover you wherever you live but Medicare generally does not provide coverage outside the United States.
  • Do you plan to spend more time at your second home? You may not be able to find a Medicare Advantage plan that covers you in both your primary residence and a vacation home.
  • Do you live in a rural area? The availability of Medicare Advantage plans is generally more limited in rural areas.   

Your costs

  • Are you worried about what you can afford, from premiums to out-of-pocket expenses such as copays, coinsurance and deductibles? When considering whether to select Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, you’ll want to take into account all these costs and consult the federal government’s out-of-pocket cost calculator, which can help you compare your estimated out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Are you eligible for Medicaid or other assistance programs? Medicaid helps low-income Americans get medical coverage and four Medicare Savings Programs also help beneficiaries who cannot afford their out-of-pocket Medicare costs.  

Your coverage

  • Do you have health insurance through your job or are you covered by your spouse’s plan? If so, you may be able to delay enrolling in Medicare.
  • Are you insured through the Affordable Care Act individual marketplace, a retiree health plan, military plan or COBRA (the temporary coverage that people can buy when they leave a job)? If so, you probably still need to enroll in Medicare as soon as you turn 65.

Our guide can help you fully answer these questions and navigate the Medicare landscape so that you can make the best choices for your health, your lifestyle and your pocketbook.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?