Medicare Advice Center

Q. How do I enroll in Medicare?

The Short Answer

Age 65 is the trigger to enroll in Medicare. You can enroll as early as three months before your 65th birthday or as late as three months after you turn 65. If your birthday falls on the first of the month, you can enroll four months prior to your birthday and up until two months afterward.

You should generally enroll in Medicare Part A at age 65. However, you may want to delay enrolling in Part B of Medicare if you still have other health coverage through an employer, a spouse's/partner's employer, or another source.

More Detail

If you’re turning 65, you can enroll for Medicare online at a secure government website. It takes as little as 10 minutes and you avoid a trip to a Social Security office. You don’t have to complete the online application in one sitting. You can stop and restart it later without losing your information.

Just follow the instructions on the site. You can print out a receipt and get an application number for your records. Social Security will process your application and mail your Medicare card. You can also check your application status online.

If you are collecting Social Security, you will be enrolled in Medicare Part A automatically, with some exceptions. But you’ll still need to sign up for Medicare Part B, and this will start your Open Enrollment period, which is an important decision point.

If you don’t want to apply online, here are two other choices:

  • Visit your local Social Security office (Call to make an appointment first)
  • Call the Social Security Office at 800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday

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