Getting Started

When should you apply for Medicare?

You become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 years old. However, if you already have claimed Social Security benefits at that time, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare on your 65th birthday. You will receive Medicare Parts A and B. To enroll in other Medicare programs, such as Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (Prescription Drug) you must meet with an insurance professional to elect those benefits.

Those who have not already begun to draw Social Security benefits will need to apply for Medicare when they turn 65. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begins three months before your 65th birthday, and lasts throughout the month of your birthday, and then for three months after that. So you have seven months in total to complete the enrollment process.

There is one exception to the above rule. If your birthday falls on the first day of the month, your IEP (Initial Enrollment Period) will begin one month earlier.

Yes, you should apply for your Medicare at age 65, even if you are not claiming your Social Security benefits yet. In fact, you must apply for Medicare during this initial enrollment period. Otherwise if you sign up later you will face higher premiums for the rest of your life. Only under specific conditions can you delay enrollment without a penalty.

Who is eligible for Medicare?

All US citizens become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. Non-citizen permanent residents are eligible at 65 years old also, and will need to prove that they have lived in the country for at least five years.

If you are under 65, you might qualify for Medicare if:

  • You are permanently disabled and have received Social Security Disability benefits for at least 24 months.
  • You have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure)
  • You have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and are receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

Medicare can seem a bit overwhelming at first. That’s why our licensed agents are here to help you make sense of Medicare.