I’m Eligible. Now what?

I’m Eligible. Now what?

How to Enroll in Medicare A and B

Do you already get Social Security retirement, disability benefits or railroad retirement checks?

If so, you’re done! You don’t need to do anything else to join Medicare Part A and Part B.

Turning 65?

If you don’t receive Social Security, contact the Social Security office, call the national program at 1-800-772-1213, go to the Social Security website (or the Railroad Retirement Board, if you receive railroad benefits). You should do this about three months before your 65th birthday.

Do you have ALS?

You will be enrolled in Medicare Part A once you receive disability benefits.

Once you’re enrolled, you should receive information about Medicare and your Medicare “Red, White and Blue Card.” You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A usually costs nothing.

Because most people have to pay a monthly fee, or “premium,” for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down. However, if you enroll late in Part B, you may have to pay a penalty. There are some exceptions, for instance, if you already have medical insurance through an employer.

CLAIM TIP: Contact CLAIM to see if you qualify for exceptions for Part B enrollment!

Trouble enrolling?

Contact your county’s Social Security office or call Social Security’s hotline at 1-800-772-1213. Find your local Social Security office here.

Common problems that may require a call include:

  • You are a disabled widow or widower between age 50 and age 65, but have not applied for disability benefits because you are already getting another kind of Social Security benefit;
  • You are a government employee and became disabled before age 65;
  • You, your spouse or your dependent child has permanent kidney failure;
  • You had Medicare medical insurance in the past but dropped the coverage; or
  • You turned down Medicare medical insurance when you became entitled to hospital insurance (Part A).

CLAIM can also help you sort through these and other enrollment issues.

Your Medicare Card

Once you are enrolled, you will receive a Medicare Card, sometimes called your “Red, White and Blue Card.” Sign this card, then keep it in a safe place, such as your wallet or purse. Bring it with you when you need medical care.  New Medicare Cards will be mailed out starting in April 2018 and will go through April 2019.

If there is a mistake on your card, contact Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board, if you receive railroad benefits).

If your card is ever lost or stolen, you can request a replacement card on my Social Security page or call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213.


                Current Medicare Card                                                                            New Medicare Card