How To Apply For Medicare

This page provides information about how to enroll in Medicare using the Social Security administration online application. It is quick and easy, no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.

It takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if they need additional information from you. Otherwise you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.

Medicare is managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Social Security works with CMS by enrolling people in Medicare. For more information about applying for Medicare only and delaying retirement benefits, visit Applying for Medicare Only – Before You Decide.

If you already have Medicare Part A and wish to sign up for Medicare Part B, please complete form CMS 40-B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare – Part B (Medical Insurance), and take it to your local Social Security office in person or mail it off.


Who can apply for Medicare online?

You can use the online Medicare application if you:


When should I apply For Medicare?

You should sign up for Medicare three months before reaching age 65, even if you plan to delay receiving retirement benefits because you are working. Otherwise, your Medicare medical insurance, as well as prescription drug coverage, could be delayed, and you could be charged higher premiums.

You can sign up for Medicare even if you are not ready to start receiving retirement benefits. You can opt out of receiving cash retirement benefits now once you are in the online application. Then you can apply online for retirement benefits later.


Why apply for Medicare online?

These are the benefits in applying for your Medicare card online:

Once you have your online account setup, you will be able to check your credit status. This can help you protect your Social Security information in the future, once you start receiving benefits.


What happens after I apply For Medicare?

Once they receive your Medicare application, they will review it and contact you if more information is needed or if they need to see your documents. The next step would be to then process your application once they have all of the necessary information and documents and mail you a decision letter. To find out what documents and information you need when applying for Medicare, use the Medicare application checklist.

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or health insurance, you may want to ask your personnel office or insurance company how signing up for Medicare will affect you.

If you cannot apply for Medicare online, then try these other options listed below:

By phone
Call 800-772-1213 from 7am to 7pm Monday through Friday. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call TTY 800-325-0778.

In person
Visit your local Social Security office. Call first to make an appointment. If you do not live in the US or one of its territories you can also contact the nearest US Social Security office, US Embassy or consulate.

Elliot Marks

Elliot Marks

Author & Social Security Advisor

Elliot Marks has spent over 10 years providing clear and concise information to help Americans navigate the complex nuances of social security and many other government services in the United States. Elliot has a passion for helping those in need of these services to be able to find timely access to news and information that is relevant and helpful to their daily lives.