How do you apply for Medicare coverage?


Quick Answer

Apply for Medicare coverage online at the Social Security website or at your local Social Security office, instructs the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration recommends that you enroll for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday, even if you do not intend to receive retirement benefits.

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Full Answer

If you already receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you should automatically receive Medicare coverage on your 65th birthday, states Medicare.gov. If you are younger than 65, but receive disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months, you should receive Medicare benefits automatically after two years. If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you qualify for automatic Medicare enrollment when you receive disability payments.

You can apply for Part B Medicare if you are a citizen of Puerto Rico, advises Medicare.gov. The Social Security Administration automatically enrolls you in Part A Medicare when you receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, but you must fill out the Application for Enrollment in Part B (CMS-40B) form to receive Part B.

Also apply for Medicare if you have end-stage renal disease, suggests Medicare.gov. This condition qualifies you for Medicare coverage.

There is a Medicare initial enrollment period that starts three months prior to your birthday month and lasts seven months, explains Medicare.gov. If you skip this enrollment period, the Social Security Administration charges you a late enrollment penalty when you apply for Part B coverage.

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