Unless you have already been receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board at least four months before you turn 65, you will not be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. You will need to sign up for Medicare yourself by applying with Social Security.
Who Gets Automatically Enrolled in Medicare?
A few different groups of people receive Medicare benefits automatically. When you are automatically enrolled in Medicare, you will receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail.
People who have been receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board at least four months before they turn 65 will automatically get Part A and Part B. Coverage for these people starts on the first day of the month they turn 65 or the first day of the month before for people whose birthdays are on the first day of the month. If these people live in Puerto Rico, they will only be automatically enrolled in Part A and will need to apply for enrollment in Part B. These people all receive their Medicare card in the mail three months before they turn 65.
People who have a disability and have received disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months are automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B. They will receive their Medicare cards in the mail three months before their 25th month of receiving disability benefits.
People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B the month they first receive their disability benefits. They will receive their Medicare card in the mail this same month.
How to Enroll in Medicare
If you need to sign up for Medicare, you should contact Social Security. You can do this by applying online at Social Security’s website, visiting your local Social Security office, or calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778). You only have to enroll in Medicare once: after that, you will have the chance to make changes to your plan every year.
What plan should you enroll in? Original Medicare gives you basic coverage for hospital inpatient care, preventive care, and medically necessary care. Medicare Advantage plans bring you this same Part A and Part B coverage with additional benefits such as prescription drug coverage or packages for dental, vision, and hearing care or transportation to appointments.
You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan once you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment
When you are 65 and enrolling in Medicare, it’s the perfect time to think about whether or not you want to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, which can help reduce the out-of-pocket costs from Part A and Part B. Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period begins when you are 65 and first enrolled in Part B. You then have six months to select a Medicare Supplement plan without being turned away for health reasons.
Medicare enrollment can be complicated. Speak with one of our knowledgeable agents to simplify the process and answer any of your questions.