How to Enroll in Medicare When you are turning 65

Congratulations! You now qualify for Medicare benefits! However, the piles of mail and endless phone calls with companies trying to get you to enroll in their plan can be confusing and overwhelming. How do you cut through the noise? Let’s take it piece by piece to help you decide the best path for you.

Medicare Basics

Before we start, let’s break down the basic parts of Medicare and how you can enroll in each.

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)

Original Medicare has two parts.

–          Part A which covers inpatient care including hospital stays and skilled nursing facility care

–          Part B which covers things like doctor’s visits, ambulance services, and durable medical equipment.

Depending on whether or not you receive Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefit will determine how you will enroll in Medicare when you turn 65.

If you are receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Part A and Part B. You should receive a package in the mail with your red, white, and blue Medicare card approximately 3 months before your coverage begins.

If you have other coverage, such as an employer health plan, you may turn down Part B. If you do not have job-based insurance and you turn down Part B, you may incur a premium penalty if you need to sign up in the future.

If you are NOT receiving Social Security retirement benefits for Railroad Retirement Benefits, you will need to actively sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.

If you would like to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period (the seven month period that includes your birthday month, three months before, and three months after), you can enroll the following methods:

  1. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (Monday-Friday 7AM-7PM)
  2. Visit your local Social Security office
  3. Online at

If you are eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits, you will need to enroll in Medicare by calling the Railroad Retirement Board or contact your local RRB field office.

Keep all records of when you enroll, just in case your application is lost. This will keep you from incurring a premium penalty for late enrollment. 

Other Medicare Coverage Options

There are several other coverage choices that will help fill in the gaps that Original Medicare leaves.

There are two “paths” that you can take that will fill in most gaps in your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.

  1. Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) with Prescription Drug coverage
  2. Medicare Supplement with a separate Prescription Drug plan (Part D)

Click each path to learn more.

Still overwhelmed?

Let us help you navigate and decide the best path for you to take. We offer plans from all of the major companies, so you can compare and contrast. Consultations are always no-charge, and you are never under any obligation to make a purchase.

We also make it easy by offering flexible appointment options – both in person and virtually. Schedule your appointment today by calling 615-919-1009 or clicking the link below. We look forward to meeting you!

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