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Some people may be automatically enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65 — if they meet certain conditions. If you aren’t automatically enrolled, you can enroll online in just a few minutes. Simply fill out a Medicare application through the Social Security website.
Most people can sign up for Medicare three months before their 65th birthday. Once you become eligible to sign up for Medicare, you have 7 months (known as your Initial Enrollment Period) to enroll.
If you fail to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, you could end having to wait for the fall Open Enrollment Period, unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.
Medicare Advantage plans provide at least the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B, but may offer more benefits that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn't cover.
You must enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, and you must live in the plan's service area, before you can enroll in Medicare Advantage.
If you’re new to Medicare and would like to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can do so anytime during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period. Your Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday.
If you do not enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your initial enrollment period, you will have another chance to enroll during the Medicare Fall Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year.
Unlike Original Medicare, which is managed by the federal government, Medicare Advantage is managed by private insurers who have control over the plans they offer and how much they charge for them.
Even if you enroll in Medicare Advantage, you will still have to pay a monthly Part B premium. The standard Part B premium is $174.70 in 2024. Your premium may be higher depending on your income.
If your Medicare Advantage plan has a premium, you are responsible for paying it on top of your Medicare Part B premium.
Note: the insurance company determines your out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, copayment and coinsurance, so specific out-of-pocket amounts will vary from plan to plan.
Once you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, a licensed insurance agent can help you compare Medicare Advantage plans. You can also compare plans online to learn what they cost, what they cover, whether your doctor accepts the plan and more.
Speak with a licensed agent at TTY Users: 711 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to learn more about your options.
1 Outside the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, beneficiaries may enroll in a plan only if they meet certain criteria. A licensed insurance agent can help determine if you are eligible.