How to Apply for Medicare
"How do I apply for Medicare?" is a frequent question here at Medicare Easy Street. There are a few different answers but it can be one of the easiest parts of the process.
In many cases applying for Medicare is AUTOMATIC
Most beneficiaries become eligible for Medicare at age 65. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits at the time you become eligible for Medicare your enrollment happens automatically.
For example, Gary decided to start receiving his Social Security benefits at age 63 and will become eligible for Medicare at age 65. Applying for Medicare requires no action on his part, and his enrollment is automatic. The Medicare card simply shows up in his mailbox about 2-3 months before his 65th birthday.
What if I'm not already receiving Social Security?
If you want to start receiving Social Security benefits at a later date then you will have to either apply for Medicare over the phone, apply for Medicare online, or apply for Medicare in person.
How do I apply for Medicare over the phone?
Applying for Medicare over the phone can be a simple process by simply calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (If you worked for a railroad, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772). Usually, you can get through to someone and complete the entire process in 10 minutes or less. If there are higher than normal call volumes, a representative can schedule a phone appointment with you and finish up at a later time.
How do I apply for Medicare online?
Applying for Medicare online is one of the easiest ways to apply. You can start the process at the Social Security website
(https://www.ssa.gov/medicare/). In most cases, the step-by-step application can be completed in about 10 minutes. One advantage of applying online is that you are unable to proceed if there is any missing information so you will know that you didn't miss something.
How do I apply for Medicare in person?
For last minute enrollments sometimes applying in person is the easiest way to confirm your enrollment and be able to walk out with the necessary information needed to get setup with your supplemental and/or prescription drug plan. In order to apply for Medicare in person, you will first need to locate your local Social Security office by going to https://secure.ssa.gov/ and inputting your zip code. To save time you will want to call ahead to schedule an appointment.
When can I apply for Medicare?
When first becoming eligible for Medicare you will have a 7 month Initial Enrollment Period. This includes:
3 months before the month you turn 65
The month you turn 65
3 months after the month you turn 65