How to apply for Medicare Simplified:
Original Medicare consists of two parts, Medicare Part A (Hospital Benefits) and Medicare Part B (Outpatient Benefits). Part A and Part B are what you get directly from the federal government .
For anyone taking social security benefits at or before 65, they will be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B 3 months before the month you turn 65. Your Medicare card will come in the mail and you will have the option to opt out of Medicare Part B if needed.
For all others not taking Social Security income benefits, you will need to manually apply through Social Security. You can apply in person, online, or over the phone and you can do so 3 months before the month you turn 65.
For more information on applying for Medicare read below.
How to apply for Medicare in Depth:
Let’s take a look at both Part A and Part B to see what you will be applying for.
Medicare Part A : Part A has no premium for most people. As long as you or a spouse have worked 40 quarters (10 years) over your lifetime in the U.S. you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A a few months before you turn 65. If you or a spouse did not work the full 40 quarters, then you will need to enroll in Part A with Social Security and Part A will have a premium.
Medicare Part B : Part B does have a monthly premium that is based on your income level over the last 2 years. For most people, the Medicare Part B premium is $144.60 in 2020. This premium can go up a bit each year due to ordinary inflation. People with higher incomes may pay more for Part B based on their modified adjusted gross income for their household.
Apply for Medicare
Enrollment into Part B is NOT automatic like Part A unless you have already decided to take your Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.
To apply for Medicare online, please visit this link: Medicare Benefits
To apply for Medicare by phone contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 ( for TTY users, it’s 1-800-325-0778) and let them know that you would like to apply for your Medicare benefits.
To apply for Medicare in person please visit your local Social Security office. If you need help locating the nearest office, please visit this link: Field Office Locator
The Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment period runs a span of 7 months. It begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and extends 3 months after you turn 65. See the example illustration below.
If you miss your initial enrollment period, you may have to wait to apply during the next General Enrollment period that runs January 1st – March 31st. You may then be subject to a late enrollment penalty for waiting to enroll. Part B benefits would go into effect following July.
After You Enroll in Original Medicare
Now that you have applied for Part A and Part B you can now make a selection as to the additional coverage options you will need. The deductibles and 20% coinsurance for Parts A & B leave a lot of gaps in coverage and prescription drug coverage is not included, so most people choose additional coverage options.
Option 1: Medicare Advantage (Part C)
For Medicare Advantage, your Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before, the month, and 3 months after you are first eligible for Parts A & B. Otherwise you will need to wait until the Annual Election Period (AEP) that runs each year from October 15 – December 7 to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan. Elections made during this period will be effective January 1 of the following year.
Learn more about Medicare Advantage.
Option 2: Medicare Supplements + Medicare Part D:
For Medicare Supplements, your open enrollment period runs 6 months and begins the month you are eligible for Part B. You will have 6 months to enroll in a medicare supplement plan without health questions.
What happens if you fail to enroll in a Medicare supplement during this time? It means that if you wish to apply for a supplement later, you may be required to undergo medical underwriting.
Learn More about Medicare Supplements.
Part D is optional prescription drug coverage through private insurance carriers. Enrolling in a Part D plan is fairly simple, but you will want to make an informed decision. Each prescription drug plan will have a different month premium, deductible amounts, formulary (list of covered drugs), and pricing structure. This is where using an independent insurance agent who specializes in Part D products can be very helpful in ensuring that you get the right plan for your needs and budget.
Learn more about Medicare Part D.
Still needs assistance?
Still have questions or need assistance applying for your Medicare benefits? You are not alone, AHIC is here to help. If you would like someone to walk you through the process of applying for Medicare, shopping for a plan, then please click on the link below. Our services are at NO COST to you and we will be here to help you for the lifetime of your policy.