Most people can get Medicare when they turn 65. How you sign up depends on whether you're already getting retirement benefits or not.

  1. If you're already getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you'll automatically get both parts of Medicare (Part A and Part B). You don't need to do anything. They'll send you a package and a Medicare card.

  2. If you're not getting these benefits, you have to enroll in Medicare. You can do this by visiting a Social Security office, calling them, sending a letter, or applying online.

  3. If you have insurance through your job or your spouse's job, you might not want to turn down Part B of Medicare. If you do, you could pay more later. If your job insurance pays after you get Medicare, it might be a good idea to enroll in Medicare first to save on healthcare costs.

Remember to keep records when you apply for Medicare, like:

  • Write down the names, dates, and times of the people you talk to.
  • Use certified mail if you apply by mail and ask for a receipt.
  • If you apply online, save the confirmation page.

This way, you're protected if there are any issues with your application.

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Last Reviewed: October 26, 2023