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How To Enroll In Medicare

Medicare comes in parts: 

  • Medicare Part A – Hospital insurance  
  • Medicare Part B – Routine medical care  
  • Medicare Part C – Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Medicare Part D – Prescription drug plan

Enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B 

If You Are:Is sign up automatic?How Do I Sign Up?When To Sign UpStart Date
getting Social Security Benefits at least 4 months before 65th birthdayYesN/AN/AIf your birthday is on the first day of the month, benefits will start the first day of the prior month. Otherwise, it will start the month of your birthday.  
Won’t be getting Social Security Benefits at least 4 months before 65th birthdayNoYou can apply online at Social Security,   Or contact your local Social Security office.During a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins 3 months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after you turn 65*.  Contact your Social Security office. 
Are under 65, and have a disabilityYesN/AN/AAfter you get Disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months. 
Have ALS (or  Lou Gehrig’s disease)Yes  N/AN/AThe month your disability benefits begin. 
Have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)No. Enrolling in Medicare is your choice.  You can apply online at Social Security,   Or contact your local Social Security office.Upon your diagnosis of ESRD.  Contact your Social Security office. 

*Note: Most people should enroll in Part A when they turn 65, but certain people may choose to delay Part B. However, in most cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty.  

*You can enroll in Part B without paying a late enrollment penalty if you apply for Medicare and are approved based on ESRD. However, you’ll need both Parts A and B to get the full benefits available.

Enrolling In Medicare Parts C & D

Enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C), as well as Medicare Part D, is not automatic.  To enroll, you must find and join a Medicare plan that offers prescription drug coverage.  Once you choose a Medicare drug plan, you can Enroll on the Medicare Plan Finder, or on the plan’s website, complete a paper enrollment form, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

If You Are:When To Sign UpStart Date
Newly eligible because you are turning 65If you join:
3 months before 65th birthday65th birthday month3 months after 65th birthday
You will start:
The 1st of your 65th birthday month1st of the month after you ask to  join1st of the month after you ask to  join
Newly eligible because you have a disabilityDuring a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins 3 months before your 25th month of SSDI, includes your 25th month of SSDI, and ends 3 months after your 25th month of SSDI Can begin 24 months after Social Security Benefits begin
Don’t have Medicare Part A, and Enrolled in Part B during General Enrollment period (January 31-March 31)Part C: October 15-December 7Part D: April 1-June 30The same date as Part A and B
Do have Medicare Part A, and Enrolled in Part B during General Enrollment period (January 31-March 31)Part C: October 15-December 7Part D: April 1-June 301st of the following month

Shop Medicare Plans in Your Area
Disclaimers: Outside of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, members can enroll in a plan only if they meet certain criteria. A licensed insurance agent can help you determine whether you are eligible. Plan availability varies by region and state. Callers will be directed to a licensed insurance agent with a third-party partner of MedicareGap.org who can provide more information about Medicare Advantage plans offered by one or several Medicare-contracted carrier(s). Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information contained in this advertisement. Not connected with, or endorsed by, the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. This information is not a complete description of benefits. For a complete listing of Medicare plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or consult www.medicare.gov.