How To Sign Up For Medicare Part A

Who Signs Up Automatically

If you are already collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) retirement benefits when you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A.

When Do You Need to Sign Up Manually

While most people are enrolled in Medicare Part A automatically, you can also manually sign up for coverage. If you don’t receive either Social Security or RRB (possibly because you are still working), then you will have to sign up manually.

You can enroll in Medicare Part A three months before you turn 65 for coverage that starts when you turn 65.

If you are not enrolled automatically, be careful as you should sign up manually at least 3 months before you turn 65 to avoid possible penalties.

Where to Sign Up Manually

You can do this online at

You can also do so at your local social security office or by calling the national hotline at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-0778) weekdays between 7AM and 7PM eastern time.

Your coverage for Medicare Part A can begin as early as 6 months before the time you filed, but no earlier than the month you meet all Part A requirements.


You must have worked 10 years under Medicare Covered Employment by the time you are 65 to receive free Medicare Part A.

If you are not eligible for free Medicare Part A, you can purchase it along with Medicare Part B during the general enrollment period or the special enrollment period.

The general enrollment period is every year January 1st to March 31.

The special enrollment period can occur for a number of different reasons. If you or your spouse continue to work and receive health insurance coverage from an employer, your Special Enrollment Period continues indefinitely. If you lose your job or your health coverage with that job, you have a Special Enrollment Period for 8 months. There are other exceptions, so check with your Social Security office if you have questions.

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