There's much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all about the steps to getting Original Medicare with Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage Plans.
Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. People younger than age 65 with certain disabilities, or permanent kidney failure, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), can also qualify for Medicare. The program helps with the cost of health care, but it doesn’t cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. You have choices for how you get Medicare coverage. If you choose to have original Medicare coverage, you can buy a Medicare supplement policy (called Medigap) from a private insurance company to cover some of the costs that Medicare does not. A portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers cover most Medicare expenses. Monthly premiums, usually deducted from Social Security checks also cover a portion of the costs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the agency in charge of the Medicare program. But, you apply for Medicare at Social Security, and we can give you general information about the Medicare program.
If you are already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you will automatically get Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65 (If your birthday is on the first day of the month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month.)
If you're under 65 and have a disability, you'll automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months.
If you live in Puerto Rico, you don't automatically get Part B. You must sign up for it.
If you have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease), you'll get Part A and Part B automatically the month your Social Security benefits begin.
If you are automatically enrolled, you'll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or 25th month of disability benefits. If you do nothing, you'll keep Part B and will have to pay part B premiums through your Social Security benefits. You can choose not to keep Part B, but if you decide you want Part B later, you may have to wait to enroll and pay a penalty for as long as you have Part B.
If you’re close to 65, but not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare. Contact Social Security 3 months before you turn 65. You can also apply for Part A and Part B at ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. If you worked for a railroad, contact the RRB. In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have a delay in getting Medicare coverage in the future (in some cases over a year), and you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B.
If you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and you want Medicare, you’ll need to sign up. Contact Social Security to find out when and how to sign up for Part A and Part B. For more information, visit Medicare.gov/publications to view the booklet “Medicare Coverage of Kidney Dialysis & Kidney Transplant Services.”
Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for more information about your Medicare eligibility and to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778. If you worked for a railroad and get RRB benefits, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772. TTY users can call 1-312-751-4701.
You can also call us for assistance in getting started and learning about Medicare at (402) 890-9999.