How To Sign Up For Medicare

Get Started With Medicare


If you are turning 65 soon, it is time to think about applying for Original Medicare. Here are three ways to apply:




    Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) 


    Go to your local Social Security office


If you’re receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits four months prior to your 65th birthday, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B.


Once you’ve signed up for Original Medicare, you can explore options like Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and prescription drug (Part D) plans that can give you additional benefits and cover costs that Original Medicare doesn’t.

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When Are You Eligible To Sign Up For Original Medicare?


The best time to apply is during your Initial Enrollment Period. That’s the three months before the month you turn 65 through the three months after. This will help you avoid fees or delays in coverage. If you have questions or are wondering about signing up for Medicare while still working, we can help you find the best time to sign up. You can also find out more about Medicare eligibility here.

When Is The Best Time To Sign Up For A Medicare Advantage Or A Prescription Drug Plan?


Unless you have better healthcare or drug coverage from another source, the best time to buy a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Prescription Drug (Part D) plan is right after you become eligible for Original Medicare. This could be during your Initial Enrollment Period when you turn 65, when you are eligible because of disability, or another reason or if you have a qualifying disease.


If you don’t sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period you will have to wait until the October 15 to December 7 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).2 You may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)1 that allows you to sign up at other times during the year. You may be subject to Part D late enrollment penalties if you don’t enroll in a Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D when you’re first eligible.


Even if you’re in good health and don’t use prescription drugs now, purchasing a Part D or Medicare Advantage plan for the future is a good idea. Your health and medication needs can change quickly and adding coverage over Original Medicare can protect you from paying unexpected costs.

When Can You Add A Medicare Supplement Plan?


You can sign up for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, which lasts for seven months, starting three months before you turn 65, and ending three months after the month you turn 65. You also can enroll during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which lasts for six months after you get Medicare Part B and are over 65 years old.


You must also be signed up for Original Medicare Part A and Part B. During the Initial Enrollment or Medigap Open Enrollment periods, carriers cannot ask about medical conditions.* If you apply outside the open enrollment period, insurance companies can ask about health conditions* and acceptance is not guaranteed.


*Note: Not all states allow medical underwriting and some states offer plan(s) to those under age 65 who are eligible for Medicare due to reasons other than age.

How And When Can You Switch Medicare Plans?


You can switch or change your Medicare Advantage or Part D plans during the October 15 to December 7 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).2


You can also change from a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to a Medicare Advantage plan during this period. If you’re not happy with the Medicare Advantage plan you selected during AEP, you can change your choice just once during the January 1 to March 31 Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Outside of the AEP, if you have certain life events such as moving or your plan changes, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).1


You can switch between Medicare Supplement plans at any time. However, if you are outside your six-month initial Medigap Open Enrollment Period you may lose your guaranteed issue rights.3 You might be denied coverage or pay higher premiums based on pre-existing or current health conditions.

How Do You Sign Up For A Medicare Advantage Or Medicare Supplement And Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan?


You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or Prescription Drug (Part D) plan with us. We offer plans in most areas of the country.


Our secure online store lets you shop for plans. You enter information from your red, white, and blue Medicare ID card, add any prescriptions, add your preferred doctors and facilities, and answer a few questions. We’ll show you plans that are a match for you. You can also find answers to your questions, receive a quote, and apply online.

Need Help Or Ready To Shop?

Enter your Zip code below to find plans available in your area.

Have questions? Talk to a licensed agent:


Read Our Other Medicare Articles

Original Medicare: Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).


1You may qualify for an SEP for certain life events. Some of the more common reasons include moving, losing coverage from your union or employer, recently qualifying for an Extra Help program or a change in your qualification for Medicaid.


2A set time each fall when members can change their Medicare health or drug plans or switch to Original Medicare. The Annual Enrollment Period is from October 15 until December 7.


3Guaranteed issue rights are rights you have in certain situations when insurance companies must sell you one of the required Medicare Supplement insurance policies at the best price for your age, without a waiting period [or health screening]. In these situations, the policy must cover all your pre-existing health conditions and you can’t be charged more for a policy regardless of past or present health problems. Guaranteed Issue (GI) Right Situations vary by state, see the GI Guidelines that are part of the Medicare Supplement application for more information.


Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare contract. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a D-SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the state Medicaid program. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield depends on contract renewal.


For Medicare Supplement only: Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.