When to Apply for Medicare

There isn’t just one simple answer to the question of when you should apply for Medicare. There are times when someone becomes eligible for Medicare and their card is mailed to them automatically. These people do not have to apply.

Those people automatically receiving Medicare without applying include:

  • Those who receive SSDI with receive Medicare 24 months later.
  • Anyone receiving Social Security benefits before age 65 will automatically receive Medicare.
  • Anyone receiving Railroad Retirement System benefits will automatically receive Medicare.

Age to Apply for Medicare

If you do not fall into any of these categories, you will have to apply for Medicare when you turn 65.  You have six months to get this done – 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday till 3 months after the month of your 65 birthday. Your Medicare will not be automatic. You will have to set it up. Do not apply late or you could be fined. Even if you are still working and have a health plan, it is still in your interest to apply as soon as you are eligible.

Understanding Medicare

Before you decide how you want to go about applying for Medicare, you need to understand the different parts of the program and which ones you need. There are 5 relevant Parts to the Medicare program. These are Parts A through F.  What you are applying for has everything to do with how you apply.

When you are eligible for Medicare you will receive Part A. You can purchase Part B but will probably have to pay a premium. You can purchase Part D and pay a premium for prescription drugs.

Part C and Part F are just a little different. If you are enrolled in Parts A and B, then 80% of your medical expenses are covered and you are responsible for the other 20%. If you want that additional 20% covered, you will need Part F. Part F is a supplemental insurance program that you can purchase to cover some of those extra expenses.

Part C sets up the Medicare Advantage Plans that most Medicare users are choosing these days. These plans cover Part A, Part B, Part D and extras like vision and dental along with  Silver Sneakers and other wellness care.

Before you start your application for Medicare benefits, do some research and understand the options and then decide what is right for you. Once you have done that you can begin the Medicare application process.

How to Apply for Medicare?

How you apply for Medicare depends upon your individual circumstances and what parts of the program you need. You need the answer to the question “When should I apply for Medicare?”, before you can answer the how. There are several ways to apply. The following process is for enrolling online in Part A, Part B and Part D only. You cannot apply for Part B and D online unless applying for Part A as well.

Applying Online

  1. Go online to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf
  2. Download the copy of Medicare Enrollment Booklet
  3. Know the details of the plan you are choosing so you set your benefits right.
  4. Apply online once you are sure of enrollment deadlines for the plan you are choosing.
  5. In order to apply online, you must have a “my social security account”.
  6. For information on setting up a “my Social Security account” go to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/create.html
  7. Once you have your account gather the information you need in order to apply online. No documents are needed but you must have the following information.
    • Date and Place of Birth
    • Medicaid Number (if applicable)
    • Health Insurance Information including start and end date of your current or last job. Start and end date of group health insurance provided by your employer.
  8. You can only apply for Part B online if you are also applying for Part A.
  9. Go to https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/rib to enroll. Follow the online instructions.

Applying by Phone

  1. Go online to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf
  2. Download the copy of Medicare Enrollment Booklet.
  3. Know the details of the plan you are choosing so you set your benefits right and enrolment deadlines for the plan you are choosing.
  4. Gather the documents you will need for information when applying. They are the same as you would need online.
  5. Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If they are busy, they will set an appointment to enroll you or do it right then.
  6. Your representative will send you forms to fill out and mail back. In order to use this option, you need to be enrolling at least 30-60 days before the start date of Medicare.

Applying in Person

  1. Locate your local Social Security Office.
  2. Go online to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf
  3. Download the copy of Medicare Enrollment Booklet
  4. Know the details of the plan you are choosing so you set your benefits right and enrolment deadlines for the plan you are choosing.
  5. Gather the documents you will need for information when applying.
  6. Take with you:
    • Proof of identity – state ID
    • Birth certificate
    • Social Security card
    • Medicaid Number (if applicable)
    • Health Insurance Information including start and end date of your current or last job. Start and end date of group health insurance provided by your employer.
  7. After you are finished with the SSA representative, ask for a copy of your record showing when you enrolled in Part A and B (D if you also enrolled). You will need this information if you choose to purchase a Medicare supplement and/or Part D.

Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)

  1. Contact the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY  1-312-751-4701).
  2. Speak with a Railroad Retirement Board representative.
  3. Have the same information/documents available.

26 thoughts on “When to Apply for Medicare”

  1. I will be turning 65 in 3 months. I am working part-time and have retirement through Teachers Retirement System of Georgia. I do not want to begin drawing social security until I get to the 100% level, which will be age 66. How do I sign up for medicare and make payments if I am not being paid social security? Also, If my insurance through State Health Benefits Program allows me to continue with my existing plan, since I am still working, would this impact my rates when I stop working and begin medicagre?

    1. I am 72 and never worked or paid into social security or Medicare, Is there anything besides Medicare out there for Seniors? Born and lived in Ohio whole life. or do I have to buy medicare. Been married 35 years to husband who worked since 19 and paid into these benefits,he is now only 59 can I draw or get medicare through him?

  2. I will be turning 67 in July 2019 and am still working full time. I intend to work until I am 70 but am considering signing up for Medicare. I am currently covered by Anthem Blue Cross through my employer. My Employer has gone to a High Deductible program and I believe Medicare with a supplemental policy would be more cost effective. At this age will I be hit with a penalty for not signing up for Medicare when I reached 65? What would be my cost for A and B Medicare coverage if I sign up at 67

  3. I’m 70 have medical part a and b . My wife is 48we have been together for 30 years only married 9 years , can she get a break on her medical insurance .

  4. I already have Medicare Part A. Will be retiring June 1, 2019.
    Am applying to get Part B starting when I retire June 1, 2019.
    Have my application page and the Request for Employment Information page done and will be mailing them in.
    How do I assure that I can get the Plan B coverage to start June 1st?

  5. I will be turning 65 in May 2019 and am still working full time. I intend to work through 2020 but was told I should sign up for Medicare prior to my 65th birthday. I am currently covered by Anthem Blue Cross through my employer. My Employer has gone to a High Deductible program and I was told I cannot sign up for Medicare and carry my employer’s insurance.
    What do I do?

    1. Paul Barrett

      If your employer coverage is a high deductible with an HSA attached your not allowed to contribute to an HSA if you have Medicare. Depending on where you live you may want to enroll in Medicare and pick up a supplement or Medicare advantage plan, this could end up saving you on premium or medical expenses.

    1. Paul Barrett

      If your just turning 65 the easiest way to enroll would be on http://www.ssa.gov or you can download and application from Medicare.gov website last option call and have social security mail you an application.

    2. Ernestine Connors

      I am turning 65 in February & plan on working another couple of years.
      I would like to get Medicare insurance rather than my employers, but there will be a 1 month gap. Do I enroll in their plan for a month?

      1. I am turning 66 in July 2020 I already have part A and pay 450. A quarter for partB plus I have a supplement I do want to start collecting a monthly benefit at 66 in July. Full retirement how much can I make in 2020 before I am taxed

  6. I am 63 and already receive Medicare Part A and was wondering if I qualify for Part B and the price.
    I am retired because a permanent disability

    1. Paul Barrett

      If you are disabled you would qualify for both parts A & B typical part B price is 135.50 but that depends on your income.

  7. Maurice Paleau

    I now live permanently abroad and don’t need medical insurance in the US anymore. How do I stop withdrawals from my Social Security payments?
    Thank you for you r help.

  8. ROYCE WALDRIP

    I WILL BY TURNING 65 ON JULY 22 2019, I AM RECEIVING SS BENEFITS ALREADY, WHEN SHOULD I RECEIVE PACKET FOR MEDICARE BENEFITS ?

  9. Paul Barrett

    Soon, if you are already collecting SS benefits you will be automatically enrolled in to Medicare.

  10. Smaranda Popa

    I am 68 yrs old, retired from United Nations and a green card holder. Am I eligible for Medicare B? Thank you

  11. I am 71 years old and a legal resident, a green card holder. I have lived in US for 3 years now.
    I would like to purchase medical insurance under govt. Program. Can I purchase Medicare?

  12. I signed up for Medicare. My 65th birthday is 09-25-19. I received my card stating my coverage would start September 01,2019. I have A&B. I have received a bill for $406 for the 1st quarter. How do you determine how much you pay for B? I am still working fulltime and I am covered by my employer insurance. I can’t afford the $406. Is there any way I can drop B now?

  13. I can’t seem to log in to my account and I can’t seem to help from any one telling me how to
    retrieve my user name and password please help

  14. BUENOS DIAS. POR FAVOR QUISIERA SABER SI TODAVIA PUEDO APLICAR EL MEDICARE. OCTUBRE 8 2019 CUMPLI LOS 65 ANIOS. RECIBIRE PENALTI POR NO HABER APLICADO ANTES DE CUMPLIR LOS 65?

  15. If I am on a life partners insurance program through his work will my social security check still gave Medicare deducted ?

  16. Magdalena Supoyo

    How long usually have to wait to get the widow benefit ? I went 3 times ( date was Nov.26 ,2019 the 3rd times)for my mom after her husband pass away a years a go . All paper completed already after the 3rd time went to SS office . She told me just wait in the mail . But until today nothing’s came . Actually I took my mom to Medicaid office too that days .This Lady want me camping back with the Letter from SS office on the 12/11/19. The date past , I still did not get the latter from SS office and …. I got a letter they denial cause until today I did not go back to summit While I am still waiting from the mail to bring it to them . By the way my mom 80 years old . I ran out her medication and not be able taking her for check up . I understand holiday , Thanksgiving over, Christmas coming and New Years coming too . It’s because the holidays?

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