Application for Medicare

You will need to submit an application for Medicare if you are not automatically enrolled.

This question and answer guide will help you determine whether you need to sign up for Medicare manually, how you can enroll online and how you can receive benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan.

Man working on a laptop computer at home

Do I qualify for automatic Medicare enrollment?

Some Americans are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), including people who:

  • Are already receiving retirement benefits
    If you have already received retirement benefits from Social Security or through the Railroad Retirement Board for four months, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.

  • Are under age 65 and have received Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months
    If you receive disability benefits from Social Security (or some select benefits from the RRB), you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare on your 25th month of disability.

  • Have ALS
    If you have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), you will be enrolled in Original Medicare the month your disability benefits start.

If you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, your Medicare card should arrive in the mail three months before your 65th birthday or in your 25th month of disability.

Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can help you determine your Medicare eligibility.

Manual enrollment

Not everyone is automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. If you’re still working, for example, you’ll need to enroll manually. If this is the case, be sure to do it during one of the following enrollment periods:

  • Your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period, which starts three months before you turn 65 years old, includes your birth month and ends three months after you turn 65 years old.

  • The General Enrollment Period, which is between January 1 and March 31 each year. Note that your coverage will not begin until July 1 and you could face late enrollment penalties if you wait too long. You may only sign up during this period if you miss your IEP and don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

  • A Special Enrollment Period, which may apply to your situation if you are currently receiving or just recently finished receiving health insurance benefits through a group health plan. There are other circumstances that may qualify you for special enrollment. Learn more about SEPs on the Medicare website.

Those under 65 with End-Stage Renal Disease typically must manually enroll.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are sold by private insurance companies. Every Medicare Advantage plan is required to provide at least the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B.

However, many Medicare Advantage plans include additional benefits such as dental, vision and prescription drug coverage.

Call to speak with a licensed insurance agent today who can help you compare Medicare Advantage plans that are available where you live.


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