As people enter their senior years, many find that their health care needs, and their economic capabilities, are much different than they were when they were younger. They often find themselves looking for health care insurance that can stand up to their life changes. If you’ve reached the age where retirement is coming up, and you need to adjust your health care insurance, you might be thinking about Medicare and whether it’s the right fit for you.

While Medicare insurance is available for people who are 65 years or older, you might want to weigh your options and compare different plans. Here’s a look at how seniors can find health insurance that’s right for their health care needs while fitting into their budget too. 

How do you find health care insurance if you don’t have Medicare coverage? 

If you’re not enrolled in Medicare because you’re self-employed, employed by a small business that doesn’t offer health care, or you’ve retired but aren’t 65 years old yet, you might need to purchase your own health care insurance. 

Using a health insurance marketplace – also known as a health insurance exchange – is a good place to start looking for coverage if you’re under 65 and don’t qualify for Medicare yet. Health insurance marketplaces are accessible either online or in-person, where you can get the information you need to purchase coverage for yourself or for your family and also get income-based subsidies to help lower your costs. 

Health insurance marketplaces started in 2013 after the creation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Every state in the country has a marketplace where beneficiaries can choose qualified health plans offered by private health insurance companies in their area. Qualified plans mean that they are compliant with the ACA and meet the standards set by the U.S. federal government. Health insurance providers that offer these types of plans can’t use medical underwriting or exclude enrollees for pre-existing conditions. Qualified plans must also cover all ACA essential health benefits without annual or lifetime benefit caps. 

If you purchase an ACA health care insurance plan from a health insurance marketplace you are also guaranteed income-based premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions. These aim to keep premiums low and out-of-pocket costs more affordable for beneficiaries. 

How can I find out more about Medicare?

Once you’ve reached 65 years of age, you will be eligible for Medicare coverage. You’ll be able to choose how to get Part A and Part B coverage – wither through Original Medicare or through a Medicare Advantage plan. Take time to review the options available in your area. Online plan comparison tools can help you narrow down your options based on your needs and preferences.