If you're already receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, 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.
If you're under 65 and disabled, you'll automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months. If you have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gerhig's disease), you'll get Part A and Part B automatically the month your Social Security disability benefits begin.
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 25th month of disability benefits. If you do nothing, you'll keep Part B and will pay Part B premiums. You can choose not to keep Part B at this time, but you may have to wait to enroll and pay a penalty when you do choose to enroll at a later date.
If you're close to 65, but NOT getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you'll need to sign up. You can contact Social Security 3 months before you turn 65 by calling 1-800-772-1213 to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. You can also sign up at ssa.gov.
You can first sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and the 3 months after the month you turn 65. If you sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the first 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, in most cases your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month. If you enroll in Part A and/or Part B the month you turn 65 or during the last 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, the start date for your coverage will be delayed.
If you didn't sign up for Part A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up between January 1 - March 31 each year. Your coverage won't start until July 1 of that year, and you may have to pay a higher Part B premium for late enrollment.
If you or your spouse are still working, you may have a chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period. If you didn't sign up for Part B when you were first eligible because you're covered under a group health plan based on current employment (your own or your spouse's), you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B: