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How to Apply for Medicare

Most people are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. Some people will get Medicare automatically, others must apply. If already receiving  Social Security retirement or disability benefits (or Railroad Retirement benefits) when you turn 65:

  • Medicare Parts A & B (Original Medicare) enrollment is automatic, and

  • A “Welcome to Medicare” packet and Medicare card will arrive in the mail from the Social Security Administration about 3 months before 65th birthday.

If not collecting retirement benefits, contact Social Security to apply for Medicare. Apply 3 months before your 65th birthday, enrollment only occurs by applying. Upon enrollment, Social Security will send a “Welcome to Medicare” packet that includes a Medicare card.

To join an additional Medicare plan (Part C, Part D or Medigap), start by comparing local plans. Before enrolling in any of these plans, be prepared to provide Medicare number and Part A and/or Part B coverage start date. This information can be found on the Medicare card. Enrollment can be done a few ways:

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Age Well Planner is an educational website created by nonprofit the National Council on Aging (NCOA). We provide information, resources, and referrals on topics such as: Benefits, Income, and Medicare.

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