Understand Medicare

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What is Medicare?

Medicare is a health insurance program provided by the federal government. Medicare is for people who are age 65 or older, with some exceptions. Explore your options to find out what is right for you.

Learn about Medicare

Should you enroll?

You can enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment period, which is three months before your 65th birthday, your birthday month and three months after. If you are under age 65, you may be able to enroll if you have a qualifying event. Learn more about enrollment and qualifying events. And, find out what to do if you have insurance coverage from an employer.

Get the details

Eligibility and timing

You can enroll in Medicare during different time periods, including initial enrollment, annual enrollment and special enrollment.

Read about enrollment periods

How to enroll

If you have not applied for Social Security benefits, you will need to contact Social Security to sign up for Medicare. If you have applied for, or are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will receive a Medicare card and packet in the mail three months before your 65th birthday. Find out how to enroll and how to change plans.

See enrollment details


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Last updated Oct. 1, 2023

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