Simple Steps on When to Sign Up for Medicare

Step 1: How and When to Sign Up for Medicare

If you are considering when to sign up for Medicare, we have some guidance to simplify your path. Ideally, you should be reaching out to Social Security 3 months before you reach 65. If you are 65 or older and on an employer-based health plan, connect with Social Security a few months before termination of your group health coverage. Your objective with Social Security is to confirm your entitlement for Part A of Medicare and to enroll in Part B. After connecting with Social Security, your status will be confirmed in a letter from Social Security stating that you have Part A and Part B. At the same time you will obtain your new Medicare ID. Effective in 2019, as a new way to protect you against identity theft, your Medicare ID is no longer a version of your Social Security number.

The Three Ways You Can Connect with Social Security


When you click on this link (https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/) you will be taken to a page that permits you to “Apply for Medicare Only”. This application is for Medicare benefits only NOT for retirement income. Additional information on this online process is here: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10531.pdf

If you prefer to work with a paper application, you can download these forms that are needed for enrollment in Part B.  When first enrolling at age 65 or later, here is the application form: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/Downloads/CMS40B-E.pdf; if you have continued working with employer medical coverage after age 65, here is an additional form to be completed by your employer and submitted along with your application: https://www.cms.gov/medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/Downloads/CMS-L564E.pdf.  The application (and employment form if you have stayed on employer coverage after 65) should be mailed to your nearest Social Security office.  This link will help you locate the nearest office: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp

While you’re online you may want to also set up your “my Social Security account” by clicking here: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. With this account you’ll be able to review your earnings, see your latest Social Security statement, request a new Social Security card or check on the status of an application.


If you prefer to use your phone, you can call Social Security 800.772.1213 to ask for a phone interview to confirm your entitlement to Part A and to enroll in Part B OR to do both with an in-person interview that can be scheduled at your local office when you call.


If you prefer an in-person connection, you can call Social Security (800)772.1213 and schedule an in-person interview at your local Social Security office to complete your enrollment.

Now that you know when to sign up for Medicare and after connecting with Social Security, you are ready for Step 2. If you still have questions on Step 1, please call us at (714) 834-1322. We are happy to answer questions.

Other Helpful Medicare Information: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf