Medicare Enrollment Resources

Toll-free number: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
TTY number: 1-877-486-2048

Where to go to apply for Medicare online or by calling

Steps towards Enrolling into Medicare

Many people are confused about the steps to take towards getting Medicare when they become Medicare eligible. You are either eligible due to a disability or due to age.

Most people will age into Medicare and will automatically be enrolled in both parts of Medicare. Medicare hospital benefit called Part A and the outpatient doctor benefit called Part B. You will have an effective date the first of the month of your birthday month, however, if your birthday is on the 1st of the month then you will become effective the 1st of the prior month.

If you are near Medicare eligibility due to age and have not received any information then maybe it’s time to contact Social Security Administration but before you do first consider these things.

Things to consider before enrolling in Medicare part B outpatient coverage.

    1. Are you or a spouse or legal partner continuing to work for a company that offers you group insurance and does the company have 20 or more employees? If so then you may want to hold off on getting part B Medicare until you are ready to leave the company group insurance plan.
    2. If you or a spouse or legal partner are on a group plan that has less than 20 employees then you may want to enroll in part B Medicare as soon as you are eligible.

Medicare late enrollment penalties

If you are eligible for both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B and you refuse to enroll in Part B simply because you don’t see the need and you have no other qualifying health plan such as a group insurance plan through an employer or employer of a spouse, then you could be charged 10% more (for life) on your Part B premium than someone who first signed up when eligible. The penalty is 10% for every year you delayed. 

How to enroll in Medicare

1. You may enroll in Medicare directly by going online here:

You can also apply:

  • By phone - Call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call us at TTY 1-800-325-0778.
  • In-person - Visit your local Social Security office. (Call first to make an appointment.)

If you do not live in the U.S. or one of its territories you can also contact the nearest U.S. Social Security office, U.S. Embassy or consulate

Part D late enrollment penalty

The late enrollment penalty is an amount added to your Medicare Part D monthly premium.

You may owe a late enrollment penalty if, for any continuous period of 63 days or more after your Initial Enrollment Period is over, you go without one of these:

  • A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)
  • A Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) (like an HMO or PPO)
  • Another Medicare health plan that offers Medicare prescription drug coverage
  • Creditable prescription drug coverage

Learn how to avoid the late enrollment penalty.

If you get Extra Help, you don't pay the late enrollment penalty.

How much is the Part D penalty?

The cost of the late enrollment penalty depends on how long you went without Part D or creditable prescription drug coverage.

Medicare calculates the penalty by multiplying 1% of the "national base beneficiary premium" times the number of full, uncovered months you didn't have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium.

The national base beneficiary premium may increase each year, so your penalty amount may also increase each year.