Medicare is a health insurance program offered by the government. Medicare eligibility
is offered for people age 65 or older, some younger people with disabilities, and
people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis
If you already get benefits from the Social Security Administration or the Railroad
Retirement Board, you automatically have Medicare eligibility for Medicare Part A
and Part B starting the first day of the month that you turn 65. You do not need
to do anything to enroll. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months
before your 65th birthday. If you wait until you are 65, or sign up during the last
three months of your initial enrollment period, your Medicare Part B start date will
If you are not receiving Social Security, Railroad or disability benefits, you can
enroll in Medicare and a Medicare drug plan if you have Medicare eligibility, up
to 3 months before your 65th birthday and no later than 3 months after the month
of your birthday. This is called the initial enrollment period. You will need to
submit an application to the Social Security Administration. You can also sign up
for Part B at your local Social Security office. They will decide if you’re entitled
for Medicare eligibility, and then send you a Medicare card. Some government employees
who have not paid into Social Security may also have to file an application. Social
Security can answer any questions about your application.
A Special Enrollment Period is available if you waited to enroll in Medicare Part
B because you or your spouse was working and had group health coverage through a
current employer or union. If this applies, you can sign up for Medicare Part B while
you are still covered by an employer or union group health plan, through your or
your spouse's employment, or during the 8 months following the month when the employer
or union group health plan coverage ends or when the employment ends.
If you have Medicare eligibility, and/or you’re 65 years old, go now and enroll for
Medicare. The effective date of your Medicare coverage depends on when you enroll.
The later you enroll, the later your benefits begin.