How to Apply for Medicare

Sometimes we forget to let people know how to apply for Medicare and instead write about Parts A, B, C and D. For some beneficiaries, Medicare benefits are not automatic.

If you are only going to apply for Medicare, call 1‑800‑772‑1213 and a Social Security representative will assist you with making an appointment at your local SSA office. At that time, the SSA representative will let you know what you need to bring with you.

You can also signup here for Medicare only.

Already receiving Social Security Benefits?

If you are already receiving social security benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you really don’t have to do anything because you are already entitled to Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) starting on the first day of the month you turn age 65.

(If you turn 65 on March 30th, your Medicare benefits will be effective on March 1. If your birthday falls on the 1st day of the month, your benefits are effective the first day of the previous month.)

You should receive your Medicare card about 3 months (+/-) before your 65th Birthday!

Are you under 65 and disabled?

If you are under the age of 65 and disabled and have been entitled to disability benefits under Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board, you are automatically entitled to Medicare Part A and Part B beginning on the 25th month of your disability. That’s 2 years and 1 month you have to wait before you are entitled to hospital and medical coverage under Medicare.

Your Medicare card should be mailed to you about 3 months prior to your Entitlement date.

If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you can join a Medicare Part C (Advantage Plan) and you are eligible for Part D, the prescription drug coverage plan.

Joining a Medicare prescription drug plan is voluntary, and you pay an additional monthly premium for the coverage. However, unless you have other prescription drug coverage that is as good as Medicare Part D, you will pay a penalty if you wait to join at a later time.

Don’t delay. If you haven’t signed up you have 3 months after your eligible date without a waiting period and up to 7 months to join, without a penalty but with a waiting period for coverage to begin.

Contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. You can also visit

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