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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Enrolling in Medicare

Enrolling in Medicare is simple and often automatic. Follow these four steps to learn what you should do:

First Step to Enrolling in Medicare

Medicare is for people age 65 or older, and for those who are disabled or have end-stage renal disease. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays and other inpatient services. Part B covers doctor visits and other outpatient services.

If you currently get Social Security or Railroad Retirement payments:

  • In most cases, you'll be enrolled in Medicare Part A & B automatically on the first day of the month of your 65th birthday. For example, if you turn 65 on May 15, you are enrolled on May 1.Or, if you are under age 65 and disabled, you will be automatically enrolled 24 months after you begin drawing disability benefits.
  • Your Medicare card should come in the mail three months prior to your 65th birthday. If you do not receive your card, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

If you are close to age 65 and not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement payments:

  • You must sign up to get Medicare benefits.
  • To sign up, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
  • You can also apply in person at your local Social Security office.

If you live in Puerto Rico and get Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits:

  • You will automatically be signed up for Part A benefits. However, you must sign up for Part B during the initial enrollment period so you don't incur a late enrollment penalty.
  • To sign up, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

To sign up for both Medicare and Social Security retirement benefits:

  • You can apply online here.
  • Or call 1-800-772-1213.
  • Or visit your local Social Security office.

Step 2 for Enrolling in Medicare

If you qualify for Social Security benefits, you do not pay for Medicare Part A coverage.

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