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. 

I’ll be getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at least 4 months before I turn 65.

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.

I won’t be getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at least 4 months before I turn 65.

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.

Note

If you don't qualify for premium-free Part A, you must sign up for Part B in order to buy Part A.

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.

I'm under 65 and have a disability.

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?

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.

I have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease).

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?

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.

I have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). [Do I need to sign up?]

Do I need to sign up?

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

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 ESRD.

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

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.

Learn more about how health and drug plans work if you have ESRD.

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.