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How do I get Parts A & B?

Some people get Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) automatically and other people have to sign up for it. In most cases, it depends on whether you’re getting Social Security benefits. Select the situation that applies to you to learn more. 

Do I need to sign up?

No. In most cases, you'll automatically get Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65.

If your birthday is on the first day of the month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month.

Note

If you live in Puerto Rico, you automatically get Part A. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. Complete an Application for Enrollment in Part B (CMS-40B) to sign up for Part B. Get this form and instructions in Spanish.

Should I get Part B?

Most people should enroll in Part A when they turn 65, but certain people may choose to delay Part B. Find out more about whether you should take Part B.

How do I sign up?

You don’t need to sign up if you automatically get Part A and Part B. You'll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday.

When do I sign up?

You don’t need to sign up since you automatically get Part A and Part B. 

Can I get a health or drug plan?

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you might choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and/or Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).

There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have.

Do I need to sign up?

If you aren’t getting benefits from Social Security (or the RRB) at least 4 months before you turn 65, you'll need to sign up with Social Security to get Part A and Part B.

Should I get Part B?

Most people should enroll in Part A when they turn 65, but certain people may choose to delay Part B. Find out more about whether you should take Part B.

How do I sign up?

When do I sign up?

Learn about when you can sign up for Parts A and B.

Can I get a health or drug plan?

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you might choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and/or Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).

There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have.

Do I need to sign up?

You automatically get Part A and Part B after you get one of these:

  • Disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months
  • Certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months
Should I get Part B?

Most people should enroll in Part A when they're first eligible, but certain people may choose to delay Part B. Find out more about whether you should take Part B. 

How do I sign up?

You don’t need to sign up if you automatically get Part A and Part B. You'll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 25th month of disability.

When do I sign up?

You don’t need to sign up since you automatically get Part A and Part B. 

Can I get a health or drug plan?

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you might choose:

There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have.

Do I need to sign up?

You automatically get Part A and Part B the month your disability benefits begin. 

Should I get Part B?

Most people should enroll in Part A when they're first eligible, but certain people may choose to delay Part B. Find out more about whether you should take Part B.  

How do I sign up?

You don't need to sign up if you automatically get Part A and Part B. You'll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail the month your disability benefits begin.

When do I sign up?

You don’t need to sign up since you automatically get Part A and Part B. 

Can I get a health or drug plan?

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you might choose:

There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have.

Do I need to sign up?

If you’re eligible for Medicare because of ESRD, you can enroll in Part A and Part B.

If you qualify for Part A, you can also get Part B. Enrolling in Medicare is your choice. But, you’ll need both Part A and Part B to get the full benefits available under Medicare to cover certain dialysis and kidney transplant services.

When you enroll in Medicare based on ESRD and you’re on dialysis, Medicare coverage usually starts on the first day of the fourth month of your dialysis treatments. This waiting period will start even if you haven’t signed up for Medicare. For example, if you don’t sign up until after you’ve met all the requirements, your coverage could begin up to 12 months before the month you apply.

If you're covered by an employer group health plan, your Medicare coverage will still start the fourth month of dialysis treatments. Your employer group may pay the first 3 months of dialysis.

Medicare coverage can start as early as the first month of dialysis if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You take part in a home dialysis training program offered by a Medicare-certified training facility to teach you how to give yourself dialysis treatments at home.
  • Your doctor expects you to finish training and be able to do your own dialysis treatments.
  • The regular course of dialysis is maintained throughout the waiting period that would otherwise apply.

If you have Medicare only because of permanent kidney failure, Medicare coverage will end:

  • 12 months after the month you stop dialysis treatments.
  • 36 months after the month you have a kidney transplant.

Your Medicare coverage will be extended if:

  • You start dialysis again, or you get a kidney transplant within 12 months after the month you stopped getting dialysis.
  • You start dialysis or get another kidney transplant within 36 months after the month you get a kidney transplant.
Should I get Part B?

If you qualify for Part A, you can also get Part B. Enrolling in Part B is your choice. But, you’ll need both Part A and Part B to get the full benefits available under Medicare to cover certain dialysis and kidney transplant services.

You can enroll in Part B without paying a late enrollment penalty if you apply for Medicare and are approved based on End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

If you’re paying a late enrollment penalty for Part B, when you apply for Medicare and enroll in Part B based on ESRD, your Part B late enrollment penalty will be removed.

How do I sign up?

Visit your local Social Security office or contact Social Security.

Can I get a health or drug plan?

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you might choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and/or Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).

There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have.

Note

Medicare is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Social Security works with CMS by enrolling people in Medicare.

Note

You don’t need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, each year you’ll have a chance to review your coverage and change plans.