How Do I Sign Up for Medicare Part B?

Anyone who is already receiving Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits will automatically start receiving Medicare Part A and Part B the first day of the month they turn 65. The premium for Part B will automatically be deducted from your Social Security check unless you fill out the form that comes with your Medicare card and say that you specifically don't want Part B. Anyone who is receiving disability benefits from Social Security will also become automatically enrolled in Medicare on the first day of the 25th month of their disability. ALS patients and those with End Stage Renal Disease start getting Medicare benefits as soon as they sign up.

People who are Still Working Won't Automatically Start Getting Medicare at 65

Many people will not automatically start receiving Medicare benefits when they turn 65. For example, if you are still working you will not automatically start receiving benefits. However, you are still eligible for Medicare and may want to sign up. If you are still working first contact your current insurance provider and find out what how their program works with Medicare benefits. It may be in your best interests to delay getting Medicare benefits until you retire. Everyone's situation is unique. After checking with your current insurance provider you can sign up for Medicare by contacting them directly at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users call 1-800-325-0778.

Initial and General Enrollment Periods

The Initial Enrollment Period includes the 7 months around your 65th birthday. This 7-month period is the most important time for learning about and signing up for Medicare benefits. Medicare is full of rules and deadlines and some of them cannot be made up once they pass. Take time after you turn 64 to learn all about the Medicare rules that apply to your situation. Then sign up early! Even though your Initial Enrollment Period is 7 months long, the first three months before your birthday month are the best time to sign up. After the first three months your coverage will be delayed and will not start the month you turn 65.

People who didn't sign up for Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period can sign up yearly during the General Enrollment Period for Part A and Part B. This is currently between January 1-March 31st of every year. People who sign up during General Enrollment may have to pay a Late Enrollment Penalty. However, if you qualify for Special Enrollment you will not have to pay a penalty. Special Enrollment is available for 8 months to anyone over the age of 65 who has lost creditable coverage. It is also available in other Special Circumstances. See the section on Special Enrollment Periods.