Sign Up for Medicare and Estimate Medicare Costs

November 7, 2019 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: July 16, 2021

" "Affordable medical coverage is something everyone wants, especially as people age. Luckily, our nation has safeguards for workers as they get older. Millions of people rely on Medicare, and it can be part of your health insurance plan when you retire.

Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, as well as younger people who have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, and people with certain specific diseases. Two parts of Medicare are Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years.  Part B usually requires a monthly premium payment.

You can apply online for Medicare even if you are not ready to retire. Use our online application to sign up. 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 we need more information. Otherwise, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.

You can sign up for Medicare on our website.

If you don’t sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment window that begins three months before the birthday that you reach age 65 and ends three months after that birthday, you’ll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you’re eligible for coverage but don’t enroll. You may not have to pay the penalty if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). If you are 65 or older and covered under a group health plan, either from your own or your spouse’s current employment, you may have a special enrollment period during which you can sign up for Medicare Part B. This means that you may delay enrolling in Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and without paying the lifetime penalty for late enrollment. Additional rules and limits apply, so if you think a special enrollment period may apply to you, read our Medicare publication, and visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for more information.

Health and drug costs not covered by Medicare can have a big impact on how much you spend each year. You can also estimate Medicare costs using an online tool.

Keeping your healthcare costs down allows you to use your retirement income on other things that you can enjoy. Social Security is here to help you plan a long and happy retirement. Visit our website today.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. Lori H.

    I am helping someone request a IRMAA Redetermination using the form SSA-44 (12-2020) which has been recently updated. The information for completing Step 2 states that you can determine your MAGI using line 7 of IRS FORM 1040. However, because the IRS Form 1040 was changed in 2019, shouldn’t we be using line 8b (adjusted gross income) from the 2019 Form 1040?

    • Vonda

      For your security, Lori, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

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  3. CJ

    What is the process for transitioning from disability to retirement? For Social Security payments and Medicare coverage.
    So, we’re supposed to sign up for Medicare around our 65th birthday. And full retirement age is 66.5. When you’re on disability and already have Medicare, what needs to be done at age 65 and then at 66.5?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi CJ, thanks for using our blog. When you receive disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, when you attain your Full Retirement Age. The benefit amount will generally remain the same. If you already have Medicare Part A and B, you don’t need to do anything additional for Medicare either. We hope this helps.

  4. joe

    I am disabled for 1 and half now .
    I am 61yrs old can I apply for medicare ?
    Currently I am covered under my wife insurance.

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