Original Medicare (aka “Traditional Medicare”) consists of two parts (Part A and Part B) and is the primary payer of your coverage.
For most, there is no monthly cost for Part A and that is why it is often referred to as "premium-free". If you have to buy Part A, you'll pay up to $506 per month in 2023. Learn more about Part A costs.
Medicare Part A, often referred to as "Hospital Insurance", covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice, lab tests, surgery and home health care.
The Medicare Part B standard or base premium for 2023 is $164.90 per month. Most people will pay this amount, but if your modified adjusted gross income is about a certain level you’ll pay the standard premium plus an income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA). Learn more about Part B costs.
Medicare Part B, often referred to as "Medical Insurance", covers doctors and medical providers' services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, home health care, and some preventive care.
Medicare supplement plans, also known as “Medigap” coverage, can cover the gaps not covered by Original Medicare such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Learn more about the 10 standardized Medicare supplement plans.
Social Security processes Medicare enrollments and offers you several options for your enrollment. You can apply over the phone, in-person, or through the mail. Learn more about How to Apply for Medicare.
If you're new to Medicare, understanding when to enroll is important and can help you avoid late enrollment penalties and prevent gaps in your coverage.
Initial Enrollment Period
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the first time you can sign up for Medicare. It goes for 7 months; beginning 3 months before the month you turn 65 and lasting 3 months after your 65th birthday month.
For example, if your 65th birthday is in June, your Initial Enrollment Period begins March 1 and will end September 30.
The Social Security office handles the Medicare enrollment, and offers you several easy options for your enrollment.
What happens after I apply?
Once Social Security receives your application, they will:
It usually takes about 3 weeks for your Medicare card to arrive in the mail. While you wait, we can help you learn about coverage options such as Medicare supplements (Medigap), Medicare Advantage, and prescription drug plans (Part D).
You can typically enroll in less than ten minutes through the online application.
You can call Social Security and schedule an appointment for a phone interview.
Apply at your local Social Security office by walking in or calling and scheduling an appointment.
You don’t need to go through your Medicare enrollment alone. Our dedicated team is here to help you make sense of Medicare so you can avoid costly mistakes.
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Not connected with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program. We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-medicare to get information on all of your options.