Sign Up for Medicare and Estimate Medicare Costs

" "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.


73 thoughts on “Sign Up for Medicare and Estimate Medicare Costs

  1. I donot want to take the medicare that can afford the health insurance premium. I would like to see not to take social security benefits that retirement incomes are high.

  2. My son is 59 almost 60 – he has no insurance – lives with my wife and myself – 80 &m 82 – we are on SS….
    He has serious Health (Mental Health issues) and has his primary doctors letter of ‘he can’t work’ back problems that sever….do you have a recommendation for any insurance to take out during this sign up period – that will carry him a few years till medicare kicks in .

    • Hi Richard. For your security, we do not have access to your personal information in this forum. For specific questions about your account, please call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), from Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. You may also contact your local Social Security office. Also, your son may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include for example, free meals, housekeeping help, and transportation assistance. For more information about services in your area please contact your state or local social services or welfare office. You should also contact your local Medicare SHIP (State Health Insurance Program Coordinator) to discuss your health insurance options. We hope this helps.

    • Yes you can receive both benefits.
      SSI is Supplement Security Income for people with little to no income.
      The approximate income limit is $2,000 in assets for an indivudal and $3,000 for a couple excluding your primary residence and a few other items.
      The max benefit amount for an individual is around $733/mon

  3. Can you clarify ” you can apply for medicare even if you are not ready to retire” ? I am 63.5 years old. So does this mean I can pre-apply now but wait till I am 66.4 to receive benefits ?

    • you can apply for Medicare (part A – Hospitalization) 3 months before your 65th birthday. Your employment status has no bearing on your enrollment, if you are otherwise eligible for the benefit. Part B (doctor) benefits are often taken at the same time UNLESS you are covered in a group health insurance plan. If so, then, regardless of your age, you have eight months from the date you lose group health insurance in which to enroll in Part B. You can enroll up to three months before your 65th birthday, but the benefit will not go into effect until you reach age 65.

    • Hi Theresa. Thank you for your question. You must be at least 65 years old to apply for Medicare coverage. People who are age 65 you and still working, have the choice to delay signing up for Medicare if they are covered under a group health plan based on their employment. Please speak with your employer and health insurance plan to see what is best for you. You can read more about Medicare coverage on our internet page, and our publication titled “Medicare.” We hope this helps.

  4. My birthday was just September 28, I am retired leaving in Lima, Peru. I received a letter from Medicare Health Insurance with my medicare number with rights to hospital (part A) benefits only the coverage starts 09-01-2019. I know that to be entitled to this benefits I must be in USA. Leaving abroad must I pay something if I do not need it?
    And in case of an special surgery be treated in USA paying the premium. thanks.

  5. We are providing walmart credit card details. When we order something online from Walmart, then the first concern comes to our mind is our package delivery status

    • What has your question about purchasing items online from got to do with Medicare eligibility at age 65? I order from and my orders are shipped to me by Fedex. As soon as my order has shipped I receive an email from and Fedex and both emails will have my order’s tracking number. You must be new to purchasing online.


  7. You teally need to fix Medicare for pekple who get $10 ovrr the Medicaid limot
    Disabled folks don’t have money for insursnce, food and rent.

  8. How long do I have to pay $433.00 a month for Part B? I retired 1 year ago on February – same for my spouse. We don’t work any longer – we could use the additional money id we only had to pay the $135.00 each.

  9. Come Jan 12 2020 I will be 76 years of age. At the moment I have a Blue Cross Blue Shield Advantage plan. I would appreciate if you could give me some information about switching to original Medicare.
    Thanking you

    • Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles for outpatient care will increase in 2020. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the new 2020 rates Friday. For about 70% of Medicare beneficiaries, the premiums will rise nearly 7% to $144.60 a month, up from $135.50 in 2019

      • So sad they have to overcharge. Still they base mine on income from 2 years ago and I don’t make nearly that anymore so it digs into cost of living. Am hoping they give a rebate for the error. Someone said you have to fill out a form to get them to correct it, not sure why, wasn’t my policy. Because of excessive premiums, I am less likely to use Medicare until years later, if at all. In the meantime others get help off the excessive fees that I pay. I already paid taxes and don’t understand the excessive surcharge based on something I don’t currently earn. I would like it better if it was fair for all. Maybe some day the glitches will be fixed.

  10. Hi Ms Darlynda Bogle;
    My SS# xxx-xx-0204, DOB 05/10/1953.
    On retirement on 05/10/2018, I signed for Medicare Part A, but could not afford to get Part B & D., in my monthly income, of SS $722 & NC statement Retirement $587 monthly total $1,309.00, my wife is household, age 58.
    At this stage, recently I tried to contact SS, Medicare/Medicaid phone numbers to find out how to get help to pay premium & deductible, but I was given another number to contact, but so far all in vain. Kindly refer me to me to exact person who can help and guide me how I should proceed. I need medical follow up and medicines to overcome my blood pressure and other problems.
    Looking forward hearing from you,
    Wasim M Rana
    919-302-5954 cell
    1031 Lake Moraine Pl
    Raleigh, NC 27607

  11. My name is jennie s. johnson. I wiil retire on. 11/16/19. Last day of work is 11/15/19.
    I need my medicare to start ASAP which shoud start effective 11/01/19. I am currently receiving social security benefits under my late husband “claim number *** – ** – ***.” Please call me @ 480-432-3196 or email me at my social is *** – ** – ***. When will i receive my new card? My medicare card number is 4J25EW5XP82. Please vedify that you received this email. Call me if you need more information. My work number until 11/15/ 19 is 602-712-7129 @ 5:00 p.m. thank you.

    • While you are at it, you might want to get a different email, phone number and Medicare number. This site is available for all to see. Please be careful before sharing all those confidential numbers. Hoping admin will edit your numbers out of your post.

    • Hi Jennie. Thank you for your question. If you have not enrollment in Medicare yet, you can do so right now. When you apply for Medicare, you can sign up for Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you can turn it down. However, if you decide to enroll in Part B later on, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. Your monthly premium will go up 10 percent for each 12-month period you were eligible for Part B, but didn’t sign up for it, unless you qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period.” You may call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to find out how to sign up for Medicare. You may also visit your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  12. I am looking for, and cannot find, the 2019 income brackets for Medicare premiums. I know Medicare is means tested. I want to know the various categories. Thank you for your help.

  13. Please send me a 100% accurate listing of why I pay the entire medicare insurance coverage cost every month. Id like an itemized and exact to the penny charge, proven by the cost of services, goods related to services, and no people ripping off the government, and therefore charging more to the client/customer then billing the government for even more money

    • Hi Barbara. Thanks for your question. If you already have Medicare Part A and wish to sign up for Medicare Part B, please contact your local Social Security office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Open enrollment for Medicare Part B is from January 1st through March 31. For information and how to apply for Medicare Part B, visit Medicare’s internet page. We hope this is helpful.

    • Hi Barbara. Thanks for your question. If you already have Medicare Part A and wish to sign up for Medicare Part B, please take or mail the form (CMS 40-B, Application for Enrollment In Medicare – Part B) to your local Social Security office. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. As a reminder, open enrollment for Medicare Part B is from January 1st through March 31. For information on Medicare, please visit We hope this is helpful.

  14. Hello ~ How do I find out what my Part B premium will be and how do I pay it? My Medicare benefits will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Thank you

  15. I am on 100% disabilty, I was trying to find information if there is any type of tax deductions? Like head of household or any other type. I also noticed my monthly payment will increase starting in December 2019.

    • Hi Brigitte. Thank you for your question. If you are already getting Social Security retirement benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B when you turn 65. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, you will be automatically enrolled 24 months after you started receiving the disability benefits. If you are not receiving Social Security benefits of any kind, you can enroll in Medicare online. To learn more about Medicare, we have a publication titled “Medicare.” available online. We hope this helps.

  16. Question: Are medicare premiums taken from your Social Security check one month in advance of the month you become eligible. For example, I became eligible for Medicare effective 10/1/2019 due to the fact that I was approved for Social Security disability. The premium due for the month of October 2019 would have come out in September 2019 as I was told at Social Security they take medicare deductions one month in advance. So October premium would have come out in September, November premium in the month of October and December premium in the month of November. Is this how it works?

  17. Here is what is wrong with the magi amount. It is based on previous years, not the current one. So people are unjustifiably being charged for income they no longer make and are grossly overcharged. This is hard at all times, but especially over the holidays when they were given less than two weeks to pay the first bill. Someone needs to fix this injustice. This isn’t fair at all. How can you expect people to trust and use Medicare when people are being overcharged like this? I have no plans of using it ever.

  18. I am 67 yrs. old and have Medicare A. I am covered under my husbands Employee Health Benefits. He may possibly get laid off in March 2020. Would I be able to apply for Medicare B and would I get penalized and have to pay 10-50% more on my premium. I went on Disability at 61.

    • Hi, Susan. Thanks for your questions. People 65 or older with coverage under a group health plan from their own or a spouse’s current employment have a special enrollment period. During this “special enrollment period”, they can enroll in Medicare Part B. This means that they may delay enrolling in Medicare Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and paying the 10 percent premium surcharge for late enrollment. The rules allow them to enroll under the following two situations:
       Enroll in Medicare Part B any time while they have coverage under the group health plan based on current employment; or
       Enroll in Medicare Part B during the eight-month period that begins with the month their group health coverage ends, or the month employment ends–whichever comes first.
      You will need to complete to submit (Form CMS-L564) and (Form CMS-40B) to your local office. We hope this helps.

  19. I began receiving my Social Security benefits at age 62. I will turn 65 in August and I thought I read that I would automatically be enrolled in Medicare if already receiving benefits. But I can’t find the exact place it states it. Can you help me?

    • Hi, Vicky. Thanks for your question. If you are already getting Social Security retirement benefits, you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically. However, because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down. If you are not already getting retirement benefits, you should contact us about three months before your 65th birthday to sign up for Medicare. You can sign up for Medicare even if you do not plan to retire at age 65. To learn more about Medicare go here. We hope this helps.

    • Hi, Diane. We are sorry to hear about your husband’s condition. Medicare starts 24 months after a person receives disability benefits. When a person becomes eligible for disability benefits, they will automatically be enrolled in Medicare. We start counting the 24 months from the month the person was entitled to receive disability, not the month when they received their first check. If he has specific questions about his case, and when his Medicare begins, he can call 1-800-772-1213, Monday-Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and a representative will assist him. Generally, he’ll have a shorter wait time if he calls later in the day. We hope this helps!

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    Thank Very Mach

  21. hi, I have searched this website to no end, and have called the main phone numbers asking this question that for some reason, no one can give me an answer to…Why does Medicare pay only 80% of any medical bill? And, the retiree, who has worked all their lives, has to make up the remaining 20%. Why isn’t Medicare 100%?

  22. I had to request a new decision about IRMAA, because my MAGI went down below lowest amounts in table, due to my husband’s death on 9-19-2019. I mailed a SSA-44 form to Social Security on 12-12-19.
    I understand SSA wants a copy of my 2019 tax return. —– But where do I mail it to?
    — And can I email it instead, and if so, to what address?
    Thank you

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