Signing up for Part A & Part B
Some people get Part A & Part B automatically
If you get Medicare automatically
If you’re automatically enrolled, you’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of disability.
Some people need to sign up for Part A & Part B
You need to sign up for Part A and Part B if:
- You aren’t getting Social Security or RRB benefits (for example, because you’re still working).
If you have coverage through a current or former employer, it’s important to understand how your current coverage works with Medicare before making any decisions.
- You qualify for Medicare because you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
- You live in Puerto Rico and want to sign up for Part B (you automatically get Part A).You must already have Part A to apply for Part B. Complete an Application for Enrollment in Part B (CMS-40B). Get this form and instructions in Spanish.
When can I sign up for Part A & Part B?
When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B.
For example, if you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that:
- Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
- Includes the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
You can sign up for free Part A (if you’re eligible) any time during or after your Initial Enrollment Period starts. Your coverage start date will depend on when you sign up. If you have to buy Part A and/or Part B, you can only sign up during a valid enrollment period.
In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B and could have a gap in your health coverage.
Between January 1–March 31 each year
You can sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the General Enrollment Period between January 1–March 31 each year if both of these apply:
- You didn’t sign up when you were first eligible.
- You aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (see below).
You must pay premiums for Part A and/or Part B. Your coverage will start July 1. You may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment in Part A and/or a higher premium for late enrollment in Part B.
To sign up for Part B, complete an Application for Enrollment in Part B (CMS-40B). Get this form and instructions in Spanish. If you don’t have Medicare or you want to sign up for Part A (some people have to pay a premium for Part A), contact Social Security.
Special circumstances (Special Enrollment Periods)
Once your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you may have the chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you’re covered under a group health plan based on current employment, you have a SEP to sign up for Part A and/or Part B anytime as long as:
- You or your spouse (or family member if you’re disabled) is working.
- You’re covered by a group health plan through the employer or union based on that work.
You also have an 8-month SEP to sign up for Part A and/or Part B that starts at one of these times (whichever happens first):
- The month after the employment ends
- The month after group health plan insurance based on current employment ends
Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a SEP.
How can I sign up for Part A & Part B?
- Apply online at Social Security.
- Visit your local Social Security office.
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778).
- If you worked for a railroad, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772.
- Complete an Application for Enrollment in Part B (CMS-40B). Get this form and instructions in Spanish. Remember, you must already have Part A to apply for Part B.
If you have any more questions you are welcome to call Stephen or Carla Fowler at 205-417-5027 or email FowlerInsuranceTeam@gmail.com.