Enrollment in Medicare varies between programs and situations. Find yours below.
How to Enroll in Medicare A and B
Do you already get Social Security retirement, disability benefits or railroad retirement checks? If so, you’re done! You don’t need to do anything else to join Medicare Part A and Part B.
Turning 65? If you don’t receive Social Security, contact the Social Security office in your county or call the national program at 1-800-772-1213. You should do this about three months before your 65th birthday.
Do you have ALS? You will be enrolled in Medicare Part A once you receive disability benefits.
Once you’re enrolled, you should receive information about Medicare and your Medicare “Red, White and Blue Card.” You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A usually costs nothing.
Because most people have to pay a monthly fee, or “premium,” for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down. However, if you enroll late in Part B, you may have to pay a penalty. There are some exceptions, for instance, if you already have medical insurance through an employer.
Contact your county’s Social Security office or call Social Security’s hotline at 1-800-772-1213.
Common problems that may require a call include:
CLAIM can also help you sort through these and other enrollment issues.
Your Medicare Card
Once you are enrolled, you will receive a Medicare Card, sometimes called your “Red, White and Blue Card.” Sign this card, then keep it in a safe place, such as your wallet or purse. Bring it with you when you need medical care.
If there is a mistake on your card, contact Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board, if you receive railroad benefits).
If your card is ever lost or stolen, you can apply for a replacement card or call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213.
Welcome to Medicare Exam
Finally, if you have enrolled in Part B, call your doctor to schedule your Welcome to Medicare physical exam.
This is a one-time-only exam that must be scheduled within six months of joining Medicare. It covers a variety of tests, including an important heart test called an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG).
You will likely meet your Medicare deductible at this visit.
CLAIM Tip: If your birthday is late in the year, you may want to schedule your physical for January of the following year. Then your deductible will be paid for the whole year!