Eligibility and Enrollment in Original Medicare

When Am I Eligible for Enrollment?

Most people are first eligible to enroll in ORIGINAL MEDICARE when they turn 65. Your seven-month-long “Initial Enrollment Period” begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after. You must be a US citizen or legal resident who has lived in the US for at least five years in a row.  Learn about additional Medicare enrollment periods here

How Do I Enroll?

When you become eligible, begin the enrollment process with the Social Security Administration:

  • If you will start collecting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, Social Security should enroll you in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) automatically. They will mail your Medicare card to you three months before your 65th birthday.
  • If you don’t receive your Social Security card or you haven’t enrolled in Social Security, visit or call your local Social Security office or go to the SocialSecurity.gov website.

Financial Help Is Available

There are several state and federal programs that provide assistance with Medicare costs for Part A, Part B, and Part D coverage. Eligibility is determined by your income and assets and varies by state. You can contact the Social Security office by going online, calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY/TDD: 1-800-325-0778) or visiting your local Social Security office to see if you are eligible.

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