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.


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

  1. 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%?

  2. 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

  3. I cannot learn from your website what the Part B premium cost is for Social Security Annuitants. In 2020, is their cost lower than an annuitant who retired under CSRS due to the “hold harmless” clause in the law? I can learn what the premium is for those who have higher incomes, but can’t seem to learn anywhere, not on your website nor Medicare’, what is the difference between Part B premiums for these two classes of annuitants. Why should “how” you pay (whether from social security income or CSRS income) make a difference in the amount you must pay?

  4. Hello.
    After I reached the 24-month eligibility point, I was automatically enrolled in Medicare though I had insurance through my part-time employer. After 2 months, I realized that the premium was being deducted from my benefits, and I realized that the enrollment was *Opt-Out* instead of an *Opt-In*.
    For many reasons, I find this to be an inappropriate handling of things.
    Do I have any recourse to recover those two month’s worth of premiums?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Ania, thank you for your question. If you do not want Medicare Part B because you are actively employed and have coverage from an employer large group health plan through that active employment, you do not need it. Once you lose that health insurance or are no longer actively employed, whichever comes first, you can enroll in Medicare Part B during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

      However, we always suggest that individuals speak to their personnel office, health benefits advisor, or health plan representative to see what’s best for them, and to prevent any penalties or delayed enrollment in the future.

  5. I am currently trying to enroll in medicare and I have questions about completing the form online. On the tab asking about other insurance, it seems however I select to enter the information I get an error message. I currently have health insurance through my retired spouse’s union plan. Whatever I attempt (saying that I am on another’s plan that is currently active, where my spouse has been retired for awhile) ends up displaying an error. Not sure how to complete the form so that I am able to continue. I called into SSA and was told it is a 2 hour wait to speak to an agent. Ultimately I would like to be on Medicare A & B and use the union sponsored health care plan as my supplemental (this decision is how my spouse has his insurance, based on a recommendation from someone in the union, and I would like the same). Please suggest how I should be completing this tab so I can continue with the application process.

    • Hi Barb, thank you for your question. Medicare has enrollment periods. Your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends three months after that birthday. However, if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period, you have another chance each year to sign up during a “general enrollment period” from January 1 through March 31. Your coverage begins on July 1 of the year you enroll. Read our Medicare publication for more information.

      You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance or you can contact 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.

  6. Can you assist with my question….I am 66 years old and recently lost my job due to company downsizing and am currently enrolled in their Cobra program. I did not sign up for Medicare when I turned 65, due to having health insurance. Can I still sign up for Medicare Part A? And will I need to sign up for Part B? I have begun the application process and have saved until I have this answered? Also, what is the application process? Once I submit the application, what happens next? Thank you for you assistance.

    • Hi Michael, thank you for using our blog. If you were covered under a group health plan based on current employment (keep in mind that coverage based on current employment does not include COBRA), you may now qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that will let you sign up for Medicare Part B after age 65. You have an 8-month SEP to sign up for Part A and/or Part B that starts at one of these times (whichever happens first):
      • The month after the employment ends
      • The month after group health plan insurance based on current employment ends.

      Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a SEP.

      You can apply for Medicare online. If you are enrolling during an SEP, you will also need to complete and return some forms. Please read page 14 of our Medicare booklet or 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.

  7. I am retiring from Prudential on 4/15/20. My husband, who is 70 has been on my Pru group plan, but now that I am retiring I was told to go to the Social Security office and have him sign up for Medicare, unfortunately offices are closed. I also have a form that I need to present to prevent him from being penalized since he was on my group plan. How can I accomplish this with offices closed?

  8. I am trying to find out why Me and my husband were turned down for Medicare. I cannot find a link on your page. I will be 67 in one month and my husband is 71.

    • Hi Deborah. For your security, 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 us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact 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.

  9. I am enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, but want to opt out (disenroll?) from Part B. I am currently living outside the US and have private insurance.
    1) Is there a form for me to complete? If so, is it available on the SSA website and where is it located.
    2) If I return to the US will I be exempt from the penalty if I can show I have had continuous health care coverage?

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