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 Medicareǂ. 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 already getting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you don’t have to worry about enrolling — you’ll be enrolled automatically.


Once you’ve signed up for Original Medicareǂ, 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 Medicareǂ doesn’t.

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, and 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 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.


If you don’t sign up during this time you will have to wait until the Annual Election Period unless you are subject to a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)1. You may also pay a late penalty in the future when you join one of these plans if your plan was not as good as Part D.


Even if you don’t use prescription drugs now, purchasing a Part D or Medicare Advantage plan for the future is a good idea. And since prescription drug use increases with age, it 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 open enrollment period. This period lasts six months and begins the first day of the month in which you are 65 or older* and enrolled in Original Medicare Part B. You must also be signed up for Original Medicare Part A. During this open enrollment period, 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 health 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?


If you want to make a change to your plan or switch to another plan, such as changing from a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to a Medicare Advantage plan, you can do so during the Annual Election Period (AEP)2. The AEP lasts from October 15 to December 7 each year.


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 may also be able to switch your Medicare Supplement plans if you have guaranteed issue rights3 or are within your 6-month initial enrollment period.


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.


Find a Medicare plan that fits your needs.

Other Articles From “Understanding Medicare And Its Parts” Guide

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


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.

1 - You 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.

2 - A 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.

3 - Guaranteed 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.