How to Apply for Medicare

Most people are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. Some people will get Medicare automatically, others must apply. If already receiving  Social Security retirement or disability benefits (or Railroad Retirement benefits) when you turn 65:

  • Medicare Parts A & B (Original Medicare) enrollment is automatic, and

  • A “Welcome to Medicare” packet and Medicare card will arrive in the mail from the Social Security Administration about 3 months before 65th birthday.

If not collecting retirement benefits, contact Social Security to apply for Medicare. Apply 3 months before your 65th birthday, enrollment only occurs by applying. Upon enrollment, Social Security will send a “Welcome to Medicare” packet that includes a Medicare card.

To join an additional Medicare plan (Part C, Part D or Medigap), start by comparing local plans. Before enrolling in any of these plans, be prepared to provide Medicare number and Part A and/or Part B coverage start date. This information can be found on the Medicare card. Enrollment can be done a few ways:

Related Content

Understand Medicare Enrollment Periods
There are certain times when Medicare enrollment can occur. For some, enrollment is automatic but for others, they will need to apply.
How to Pay Medicare Premiums
It’s important to understand the basics required to keep a plan, this includes paying a monthly premium. There are several options for getting this done.
Protection from Medicare Scams
Medicare numbers should be protected as you would a credit card, debit card or bank account information because Medicare fraud is sadly a common occurrence.