Frequently Asked Questions

The timing of signing up for Medicare is important, remember these times to avoid any late enrollment penalties that can cost you for the long term. Initial Medicare Enrollment Period: This is the time when most people get Medicare Part A and Part B. The enrollment period begins three months prior to turning 65 and extends to three months after. Those who are not already collecting Social Security benefits prior to your initial Enrollment, will be required to contact Social Security or sign up online. To avoid any penalties, make sure to complete your enrollment application during the Initial Enrollment Period. The lifetime penalty, if you incur one, will be added to your Part B premium month. And that penalty increases the longer that you wait to sign up. General Medicare Enrollment Period. Those who miss their Initial Enrollment Period are allowed to sign up between January 1 and March 31, which is the Medicare’s General Enrollment Period. Your coverage will then begin on July 1. Special Enrollment Period. After your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you may be eligible to sign up for Medicare using the Special Enrollment Period. You are eligible to sign up for both Parts A and B during the Special Enrollment Period, but only if you have special circumstances.

It is best to sign up for a Medicare drug or health plan when you sign up for Medicare. Signing up on time is critical to avoiding a penalty that you will pay for Part D late enrollment, which is ongoing forever. If you happen to miss the initial enrollment, you might have to wait for Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period which runs October 15 to December 7 to sign up for a plan. During the Open Enrollment, you can also switch or drop a plan coverage.

You can sign up for Medicare Part A and or Part B using the following methods
  • Online at www.socialsecurity.gov
  • In-person at your local social security office
  • By calling Social Security at 800.772.1213, Monday to Friday from 7 am to 7 pm
Those who worked at a railroad enroll by contacting the Railroad Retirement Board at 877.772.5772 Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3:30 pm.