Am I Automatically Enrolled In Medicare When I Turn 65?
Most people sign up for Medicare Parts A & B during their Initial Enrollment Period. If you’re receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits at least four months before your 65th birthday, you’ll be automatically enrolled. Social Security will send you Medicare information and a Medicare card prior to your 65th birthday.
You can qualify for Original Medicare based on your age, whether you're retired or still working, if you have a disability, and whether you receive Social Security benefits. If you meet certain criteria, you may also be eligible for Medicare before turning 65. Here are three ways to sign up when you become eligible:
- Visit SocialSecurity.gov
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778)
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Go to your local Social Security office
Learn about other Medicare enrollment periods.
How Soon Before My 65th Birthday Should I Enroll In Medicare?
You can sign up for Medicare as early as three months before the month you turn 65.
During your Initial Enrollment Period, you also have an option to choose a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Prescription Drug (Part D) plan from a private insurer like Anthem once you’ve applied to Original Medicare.
What Happens If I Miss My Initial Enrollment Period?
If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can still sign up for Original Medicare during the General Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31.
Just remember that if you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you may have to pay a penalty. That’s why it’s important to enroll when you’re first eligible.
What Medicare Coverage Do I Need?
Once you sign up for Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you have more options to choose from to get coverage that fits your healthcare needs and budget.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
Medicare Advantage plans provide the same coverage as Original Medicare – plus more. You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan when you first become eligible for Medicare.
Part C plans may include:
- Routine dental care, including X-rays, exams, and dentures
- Vision care, including glasses and contacts
- Hearing care, including testing and hearing aids
- Prescription drug coverage (Part D)
- Wellness programs and gym memberships, including SilverSneakers®
- $0 monthly premium
Medicare Supplement Plans
You have another option for coverage with a Medicare Supplement plan, also known as Medigap. These plans help cover deductibles, coinsurance, and copays that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.
You can’t get a Medicare Supplement plan during your Initial Enrollment Period. But once you sign up for Original Medicare, you can add a Medicare Supplement plan during the Open Enrollment Period. This enrollment period lasts for six months, starting the month you turn 65.
Medicare Part D Plans
If all you need is prescription drug coverage, you can select a Medicare Part D plan. Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription medicines, so purchasing a Medicare Part D plan helps you get the additional coverage you need. You can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan during your Initial Enrollment Period.
You can also purchase a Medicare Part D plan with a Medicare Supplement plan during your Open Enrollment Period. If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, prescription drug coverage may already be included.
Compare all your Medicare plan options.