I am turning 65. How do I get Original Medicare?
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Last Update: January 23, 2009
Most Americans become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. What you need to do to actually get Medicare depends on whether you are receiving Social Security retirement benefits or railroad retirement benefits.
To find out if you are eligible for Medicare, click on "Am I eligible for Medicare if I am 65 or over?" in the GO TO box.
- If you are 65 and receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B.
You do not need to contact anyone. You will receive a package in the mail three months before your 65th birthday with your new Medicare card and a letter explaining how Medicare works and that you have been automatically signed up for both Medicare Part A and Part B. If you are receiving Social Security retirement benefits, your package and card will come from Social Security. If you get railroad retirement benefits, your package and card will come from the Railroad Retirement Board.
The letter will also explain that your monthly Part B premium will be automatically deducted from your Social Security check or railroad retirement check beginning the month your coverage begins. You will be given the option to turn down Part B.
Do not turn down Medicare Part B unless you have employer insurance from your or your spouse's current job. If you do not have employer insurance and you turn down Part B, you may have to pay a hefty premium penalty when you do sign up.
To learn more about the Part B premium penalty, click on the link in the GO TO box.
- If you are 65, but are not receiving Social Security retirement benefits or railroad retirement benefits, you will need to actively enroll in Medicare.
You may not be collecting Social Security retirement benefits if you are still working or if you were born in 1938 or later (the retirement age is higher for people born after 1938).
To find out how and when you can enroll in Medicare, click on "I am turning 65 and do not receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. When can I enroll in Medicare?" and "I was not automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. How do I actively enroll?" in the GO TO box.
To find out at what age you can collect Social Security retirement benefits, click on the link in the LINKS box.
To learn about railroad retirement benefits or to contact your local Railroad Retirement Board field office, click on the links in the LINKS box.
To find out more about how Medicare works with insurance from a current or former employer, click on the link in the GO TO box.