Medicare Enrollment

When Can You Sign Up for Part A?

If you get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you will automatically get Part A starting the first day of the month you turn age 65. If you are under age 65 and disabled, you will automatically get Part A after you get disability benefits from Social Security or RRB for 24 months. People with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) automatically get Part A the month their disability benefits begin. If you aren't eligible for premium-free Part A, you can buy Part A during the following times:

Initial Enrollment Period—The 7-month period that begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday.

General Enrollment Period—From January 1 - March 31 each year.

Special Enrollment Period—If you have group health coverage through your or your spouse's employer or union. If you aren't getting Social Security or RRB benefits (for instance, if you are still working), you will need to sign up for Part A. You should contact Social Security 3 months before you turn age 65 to sign up for Part A. For more information, visit www.ssa.gov on the Web or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778. If you get benefits from the RRB, call your local RRB office or 1-800-808-0772.

When Can You Sign Up for Part B?

If you get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you will automatically get Part B starting the first day of the month you turn age 65. If you are under age 65 and disabled, you will automatically get Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or RRB for 24 months. People with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) automatically get Part B the month their disability benefits begin. If you aren't getting Social Security or RRB benefits and you want to get Part B, you will need to sign up for Part B when you are close to age 65. If you didn't sign up for Part B when you first became eligible, you may be able to sign up during one of these times:

General Enrollment Period—From January 1 - March 31 each year. Your coverage will begin on July 1. However, the cost of your Part B will go up 10% for each full 12-month period you could have had Part B but didn't sign up for it, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (see below). You may have to pay this late-enrollment penalty as long as you have Part B.

Special Enrollment Period—If you wait to sign up for Part B because you or your spouse are working and have group health plan coverage based on that work or if you are disabled and you or a family member are working and have group health plan coverage based on that work. You can sign up for Part B any time while you have group health plan coverage based on current employment or during the 8-month period that begins the month the employment ends, or the group health plan coverage ends, whichever happens first. Contact the Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov) or the Railroad Retirement Board (www.rrb.gov) to sign up for Part B.