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.

Getting Part A and Part B — Original Medicare

Original Medicare is also called Part A and Part B. Part A is hospital insurance. Part B is medical insurance. You can sign up for Part A and Part B during the initial enrollment period. Most people should enroll in Part A at this time. You can delay enrolling in Part A and Part B, but you may have to pay a higher premium.

To sign up for Part A and Part B, you will need to contact the Social Security office. You can apply online at ssa.gov. You can also visit a local office.

Getting Part D — prescription drug coverage

If you have already enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A or Part B, you will need to decide whether or not you would like prescription drug coverage. Prescription drug coverage is also known as Part D. If you would like Part D, you will need to get it from a private insurer. Each has its own formulary (list of covered drugs) and related costs. Private insurers can provide you with a stand-alone prescription drug plan. You can also get prescription drug coverage as part of a Medicare Advantage plan. If you know you will need Part D, it’s best to get it during your initial enrollment period so that you avoid a late penalty. If you did not enroll in Part D during your initial enrollment period, you can enroll during the annual enrollment period, which is Oct. 15 – Dec. 7.

Getting Part C — Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare and more. In addition to what Original Medicare covers, Medicare Advantage plans may offer extra benefits, including pharmacy, vision, dental, hearing, gym memberships, wellness resources and discounts.

To search for and enroll in Part C plans, you can visit medicare.gov. You can also contact private insurers directly.

See our Medicare Advantage plans

If you have questions, please contact us.

Last updated Sep. 26, 2018
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