Enrolling in Medicare

WebMD Medical Reference

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

Step 1

Medicare is for people age 65 or older, and for those who are disabled or are on renal dialysis. Medicare has two parts. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays and other inpatient services. Part B covers physician and other outpatient services.

If you currently get Social Security or Railroad Retirement payments:

  • You will be enrolled in Medicare Part A & B automatically on the first day of the month of your 65th birthday. (If you turn 65 on May 15, you are enrolled on May 1.)
  • 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, or visit www.ssa.gov.

If you do not draw 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.
  • You cannot apply online for Medicare alone.

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.