Now you know how the different parts of Medicare work. So the next question is, how do you enroll? Some people will automatically be eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B, while others will need to sign up for it. In most cases, it depends on:
Whether or not you’re receiving Social Security benefits.
Here’s what you need to know about whether or not you are eligible—and how to enroll if you are not.
You Automatically Are Eligible for Medicare Parts A and B if:
You’ll be getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at least four months before you turn 65. Medicare enrollment begins three months before your 65th birthday and continues for seven months. If you are receiving Social Security benefits at this point, you don’t need to do anything. You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and will receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday.
You have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease): You’ll automatically be eligible and will receive a Medicare card the month your disability benefits begin.
You’re under 65 and have a disability: You’ll automatically receive parts A & B after you’ve received disability benefits from either Social Security or the RRB for 24 months. You’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your 25th month of disability.
You Are Not Automatically Eligible for Medicare Parts A and B if:
You won’t be receiving benefits from Social Security (or the RRB) at least four months before you turn 65.To avoid permanent penalties (see Medicare B penalty above), you should enroll within the seven-month window of time around your 65th birthday. This includes the three months before the month you turn 65, your birthday month, and the three months after your birthday month.
You have End-Stage Renal disease (ESRD): To sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B, you’ll simply apply online or visit your local Social Security office.
If you are not automatically eligible for Medicare Parts A and B, you’ll need to sign up.
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