Eligible for Medicare Soon? Signing up for Original Medicare

Signing up for Medicare

Documents to Have Handy When Signing up for Medicare

If you are age 65, or you soon will be, then you’re probably thinking about enrollment in Medicare for your health care coverage for the very first time. For some people, going with Original Medicare – which includes Medicare Part A and Part B – can provide sufficient protection in terms of hospital and doctors’ services benefits.  But there are a lot of additional options out there to consider – MAPD, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D – the choices can be daunting.

Our post, “Should I Stick With Original Medicare” is a good one to explore coverage options above and beyond Original Medicare.  But before we get to all of that, let’s just start with the basics.  The first step is actually signing up for Original Medicare, and that’s relatively easy!

For most of us, when you turn 65 and start drawing Social Security, you’ll get Medicare Part A automatically.  You’ll also get Medicare Part B automatically.  However, if you don’t want Medicare Part B (perhaps you’re still working and covered under an employer’s plan) there’s a form in the packet you can fill out and defer Medicare Part B until a later date.

Original Medicare

While most people get Medicare A and B automatically, lots of folks prefer to actually talk to the Social Security Administration to make sure they’re not missing anything and understand their options.  There are a few ways in which you can secure your enrollment in Original Medicare benefits.

  1. Enroll online via the Social Security website
  2. Personally visiting your local Social Security office.  You can search for the nearest location here.
  3. Calling Social Security and enrolling over the phone.  Phone numbers are listed here

Should you decide to talk to the Social Security Administration in person, don’t just stroll by and walk in.  You will have to  to make an appointment with a representative at your local Social Security office.  Social Security does not have an online scheduling feature, so you’ll have to call.

Alternatively, if you opt to enroll for your Original Medicare benefits over the phone, you can do so by calling Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Just like signing up for any other type of insurance, though, before you move forward in applying for your Medicare health care coverage, it can be helpful for you to have various paperwork available in order to adequately move you through the process.

Documents and Other Information to Have Handy

Prior to moving forward with your enrollment in Medicare, there are several important documents that you should have readily available. These include the following items:

  1. Your birth certificate (or other proof of birth)
  2. Your Social Security card (if you are already receiving Social Security retirement income benefits)
  3. Employment information, such as your W-2 form (if you are still actively working)
  4. Proof of U.S citizenship (or, if you were not born in the United States, proof of you legal U.S. residency)
  5. Military discharge papers (if you served in the United States military prior to 1968)

The Takeaway:

For most people, enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B is automatic. This is typically the case for those who are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, and who are also age 65. If, however, you are not yet eligible for these benefits, you will not be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare coverage and you should reach out to the Social Security Administration to review your particular situation.

Related Post: The Basics of Medicare and Enrolling


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Author Bio: Ben started Prepare for Medicare in 2014 to help people help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. He’s held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in product development, sales, marketing and strategy for over 20 years.