Last updated on January 31st, 2023 at 06:19 pm
Your starting place for signing up for Medicare will be the Social Security Administration. Signing up for Medicare means enrolling in Part A and/or Part B, which is also referred to as “Original Medicare”. You can do this in person at your local Social Security Office, online at www.ssa.gov or over the phone. If you are already receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you will be automatically enrolled in both Part A and Part B starting the first of the month you turn 65. If your birthday is on the first of the month, your Part A and B can start the first of the prior month.
If you are under 65 and you have been receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) for 24 months in a row, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, when you reach the 25th month. If you have ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, you’re automatically enrolled in Medicare the month you begin receiving your Social Security disability benefits. If you’re eligible for Medicare because of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and you qualify for Part A, you can also get Part B, but you need to sign up, you will not be automatically enrolled.
🡪 Signing up during your Initial Enrollment Period?
If you are turning 65 and do not have a group health plan based on your own or a spouse’s employment, you should sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, which begins three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after your 65-birthday month, for a total of a seven-month period. If you sign up in the 3 months before you turn 65, your coverage will begin the 1st of your birthday month (unless your birthday is on the 1st of the month, your Part A & B can start the 1st of the prior month). If you sign up the month you turn 65, or during the 3 months after, your coverage will begin the 1st of the next month. To avoid any gap in coverage, we recommended starting the process three months before turning 65.
🡪 Signing up during a Special Enrollment Period?
If you are signing up for Part A and/or Part B during a Special Enrollment Period, you’ll need to provide evidence of your other group health plan coverage along with your application. You will need to specify which date you want your Part B coverage to begin.
🡪 You can sign up for Medicare in any one of the following three ways:
- Online at www.ssa.gov
- Over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday from 7am-7pm
- In person at your local Social Security Office
🡪 How long does the process take?
Signing up for Medicare with the Social Security Administration may take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to 1-2 months. It is recommended to begin the process at least 3 months before you turn 65, or 3 months before your retirement date if covered under a group health plan after 65, to avoid any gaps in coverage. Once you apply, you can check the status of your application at any time.
🡪 How much will it cost?
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) is premium-free if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years (40 quarters). Most people qualify for premium-free Part A. If you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A, you can buy it. If you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A, you may pay up to $499 per month for it in 2022.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) has a standard monthly premium amount of $171.10 in 2022 but may be higher depending on your income due to an “Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount” known as “IRMAA”. IRMAA is an extra charge added to your monthly Part B premium. Medicare determines if you own an IRMAA based on the income you reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago. IRMAA also applies to “Part D” if you have a stand-alone prescription drug plan. To see more about Medicare costs and the income thresholds see Budgeting for Medicare.
🡪 Once approved, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail. Your card will have your name, Medicare number, your Part A and if applicable, Part B start dates. If you sign up for only Part A, and later sign up for Part B, you’ll receive a new Medicare card once your Part B application is complete.