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Signing Up for Medicare Part A and Part B

This section explains how and when to sign up and if you should wait to get Part B.

Some People Get Part A and Part B Automatically

Are you already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)?


If you are, in most cases, you will 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.

Are you under 65 and disabled? If so, you automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months.

If you’re automatically enrolled, you will get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of disability.


Medicare and You Important Note
Important: If you don’t want Part B, 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 Premium. See Help deciding if you need to sign up for Part B.

Do you have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease)? If you do, you automatically get Part A and Part B the month your disability benefits begin.

Do you live in Puerto Rico and get benefits from Social Security or the RRB? If so, you will automatically get Part A. If you want Part B, you will need to sign up for it. Contact your local Social Security office or RRB for more information.

Do you have Part A and TRICARE (insurance for active duty military or retirees and their families)? If you do, you must have Part B to keep your TRICARE coverage. See Help deciding if you need to sign up for Part B: TRICARE section.
Some People Need to Sign Up for Medicare Part A and Part B

Are you close to 65, but not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits?
Are you close to 65, but not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits? If you aren’t getting Social Security or RRB benefits (for example, because you’re still working) and you want Part A or Part B, you will need to sign up (even if you’re eligible to get Part A premium-free). If you’re not eligible for premium-free Part A, you can buy Part A and Part B.

Contact Social Security 3 months before you turn 65. If you worked for a railroad, contact the RRB to sign up.


Do you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)? If you do, visit your local Social Security office, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to sign up for Part A and Part B. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov/publications to view the booklet "Medicare Coverage of Kidney Dialysis and Kidney Transplant Services." You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to find out if a copy can be mailed to you. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for more information about your Medicare eligibility, and to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. If you’re 65 or older, you can also apply for premium-free Part A and Part B (for which you pay a monthly premium) at www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement. The whole process can take less than 10 minutes. If you get RRB benefits, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772.

For general information about enrolling, visit www.medicare.gov/MedicareEligibility. You can also get free, personalized health insurance counseling from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.