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When & how to sign up for Part A & Part B

Some people get Part A & Part B automatically

You may qualify for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) if one of the following applies to you:

In most cases, you'll automatically get Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65.

If your birthday is on the first day of the month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month.

You automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months.

You automatically get Part A and Part B the month your disability benefits begin.

You automatically get Part A. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it.

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 Railroad Retirement Board benefits (for example, because you're still working).
  • 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. Get this form and instructions in Spanish.
Note

Learn more if you’re signing up for Medicare based on the work record of a same-sex spouse.

When can I sign up for Parts A & B?

Learn about when you can sign up for Parts A & B.

How to sign up for Part A & Part B

Note

Medicare is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Social Security works with CMS by enrolling people in Medicare.

Note

You don’t need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, each year you’ll have a chance to review your coverage and change plans.

Don't want Part B?

If your Medicare hasn’t started yet, there are 2 ways to drop Part B:

  1. If you were automatically enrolled in both Part A and Part B and sent a Medicare card, follow the instructions that come with the card, and send the card back. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and will pay Part B premiums.
  2. If you signed up for Medicare through Social Security, contact Social Security.  

Learn more about whether you should get Part B.

Note

You must pay your Part B premium every month for as long as you have Part B (even if you don’t use it).

 

If you currently have Part B and you want to drop it, contact Social Security for instructions on how to submit a signed request. Your coverage will end the first day of the month after Social Security gets your request.

 

Note

If you drop Part B, you generally won’t be able to enroll in Part B again until the next General Enrollment Period (January 1 – March 31st) and you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.