When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven-month initial enrollment period to sign up for Part A and/or B. That seven-month enrollment period begins three months before your birthday month, and ends three months after your birthday month.

This is the first part in a four-part series on how to sign up for Medicare for people turning 65.

Step 1 — Getting to know Medicare

checkbox    Determine your Medicare eligibility

Why? This will help you determine if you need to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. It also will estimate your premium amounts and provide information so you can decide whether you want Part B and whether you want to supplement Original Medicare. If you do not enroll during your initial enrollment period or do not provide proof of insurance under another eligible plan, you will pay a substantial penalty each month.

How? Go online to the Medicare Eligibility & Premium Calculator: medicare.gov/eligibilitypremiumcalc or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213; TTY 1-800-325-0778.

Note: Some people with certain disabilities or already taking Social Security may be signed up for Medicare automatically.

Note: If you don’t sign up, your monthly premium for Part B may go up 10% for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up for it.

Check back next week for step 2!
Steps to Medicare Part 1: A checklist for turning 65