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My Retiree
Virtual Education Center™

University of California

United Healthcare

Medicare 101

When you’re new to Medicare, it may be a bit of a puzzle, so here’s an overview of the pieces:

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal program that offers health insurance to American citizens and other eligible individuals.

What does it cover?

Medicare Parts A and B cover certain medical services and supplies in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health care settings. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.

Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps pay for hospital stays and inpatient care.

Part B (Medical Insurance) helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care.

Part D (Drug Coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs (including many recommended shots or vaccines). Plans that offer Medicare drug coverage are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.

What are the coverage choices?

Original Medicare (Parts A & B) is provided by the federal government. It helps pay for hospital stays and doctor visits, but it doesn’t cover everything.


You may add coverage by enrolling in the Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) offered by the University of California, an alternative to Original Medicare. This plan combines Part A and Part B coverage in one plan and includes additional benefits not provided by Original Medicare. Your plan also includes Part D coverage and may be referred to as an MAPD plan.

A little prep, a simpler process

Timing matters when you first enroll, so make note:

Your initial enrollment period (IEP) is your first chance to enroll in Medicare and choose the coverage you want. The IEP is seven months long, including your birthday month OR the 25th month you have been getting disability benefits, PLUS the three months before and three months after.

We want your transition to be as easy as possible when the time comes; just follow the steps below before your 65th birthday:

  1. 3 months before you turn 65

    • Read the University of California (UC) Medicare materials you get in the mail.
    • Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B.
    • Complete UBEN121, either online at UCRAYS or using the paper form.
    • Attend one of our UC online educational age-in meetings to learn more about plan benefits and eligibility
  2. 1-2 months before you turn 65

    • Watch your mail for the UC Medicare Choice plan guide.
    • After UnitedHealthcare processes your enrollment, look for your new ID card, and Quick Start Guide, in the mail.
  3. Happy birthday!

    On your effective date, start using your UC Medicare Choice plan benefits.

Want an easy way to access these steps when you need them?

Just download and print our Turning 65 checklist

Get deeper into the details

Watch the pre-recorded educational age-in meeting to learn more about your plan benefits and eligibility.

Want a guided tour of your benefits?
Join one of our webinars or in-person meetings