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How to get medicare part B

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Medicare is a health insurance program in the United States for citizens over the age of 65. Medicare may be available to citizens under the age of 65 who have disabilities (disability benefits) or are suffering from irreversible renal failure.

Although the Medicare program helps with healthcare expenditures, it does not cover all medical bills or most long-term care expenses. You can get Medicare coverage in a few different ways. You can buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy from a commercial insurance provider if you want Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage.

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What is Medicare Part B?

Part B of Medicare helps to fund medical services such as doctor’s visits, outpatient treatment, and other services that Part A does not cover. Part B is a choice. When medically essential, Part B helps pay for covered medical services and equipment. Part B also includes preventive treatments including as checkups, lab testing, and screening immunizations to help prevent, detect, and manage medical problems.

Cost: If you have Part B, you must pay a monthly fee. The majority of consumers will pay the usual premium. Some persons who are required to pay extra because of their income will be contacted by Social Security. You may have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you don’t sign up for Part B when you initially become eligible.

Look through your copy of the “Medicare & You” guidebook, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or go to your local Social Security office for further information about enrolling in Medicare. If you receive Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, contact your local RRB office or call 1-800-808-0772.

To sign up for Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board), call 1-800-772-1213.

Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Other Insurance). Why don’t I contact Medicare and enroll in Parts A and B?

To enroll, you do not need to create a Medicare account. You can create your protected Medicare account after you join up and acquire your Medicare Number. To receive greater coverage, you might join a plan or get supplemental insurance.

Part B (or Part A if you have to pay a fee for it) is only available at particular hours. Learn about the sign-up periods for Part A and Part B.

The Parts of Medicare

  • Part A (hospital insurance) helps pay for inpatient hospital care or a short stay in a skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay). Some home health and hospice services are also covered in Part A.
  • Medicare Part B helps pay for outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services provided by doctors and other health care professionals.

Other aspects of Medicare are managed by private insurance firms that adhere to Medicare’s guidelines.

  • Supplemental (Medigap) insurance helps pay for Medicare copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
  • All of the benefits and services covered under Parts A and B, as well as supplementary benefits like vision, hearing, and dentistry, are bundled together in a Medicare Advantage Plan (formerly known as Part C).
  • Prescription medications are covered under Medicare Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage).

If they have worked and paid Medicare taxes long enough, most people aged 65 and up are eligible for free medical hospital insurance (Part A). By paying a monthly premium, you can enroll in Medicare medical insurance (Part B). Larger-income participants will pay a higher monthly Part B cost. Read Medicare Premiums: Rules For Higher-Income Beneficiaries for further information.

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Should I Sign Up For (Part B)?

You can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B (medical insurance) using our online application (medical insurance). You have the option to decline Part B coverage because it requires a premium.

If you’re 65 years old and eligible, your initial enrollment period starts three months before your birthday includes the month you turn 65, and concludes three months following your birthday.

If you delay signing up in Part B and later decide to do so, your coverage may be delayed, and you might have to pay a higher monthly premium for the duration of your Part B coverage. Unless you qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period,” your monthly premium will increase by 10% for each 12-month period during which you were eligible for Part B but did not enroll (SEP).

If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period, you’ll have another chance each year from January 1 to March 31 during a “general enrollment period.” The year you sign up, your coverage begins on July 1 of that year. For additional information, see our Medicare publication.

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or health insurance via your current job, you should check with your HR department or insurance company to see how Medicare may affect you.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

You may not need to apply for Medicare Part B at age 65 if you have medical insurance via your or your spouse’s current employer’s group health plan. You may be eligible for a “Special Enrollment Period” (SEP) during which you can sign up for Part B:

  • You or your spouse can continue to be covered under the group health plan at any time during the month.
  • The 8-month period begins the month following the conclusion of your group health plan coverage or the job on which it is based, whichever occurs first.

How To Apply Online For Just Medicare

How to get medicare part B

If you are within three months of turning 65 and are not yet ready to begin receiving monthly Social Security payments, you can use our online retirement application to enroll in Medicare only and wait to apply for your retirement or spouse’s benefits later. It takes less than ten minutes, and there are no forms to sign or paperwork to complete.

Apply for Medicare Only

Return to Saved Application | Check Application Status | Replace Medicare Card

To know what documents and information you need to apply, visit the Checklist For The Online Medicare, Retirement, and Spouses Application.

Medicare Cards

Your Medicare card has a unique Medicare number to help secure your identity. If you haven’t received your red, white, and blue Medicare card, there may be an error, such as your mailing address. Sign in to or create a personal my Social Security account to alter your mailing address. Learn everything there is to know about your Medicare card.

Already Enrolled in Medicare

You can receive information and services online if you have Medicare. Learn how to take control of your benefits.

Please complete form CMS-40B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare – Part B, if you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and want to enroll in Part B. (medical insurance). You must also fill out form CMS-L564, Request for Work Information if you are applying for Medicare Part B due to a loss of employment or group health coverage.

You can submit your registration request during the Special Enrollment Period using one of the following methods:

  1. Complete CMS-40B and CMS-L564 under “Apply Online for Medicare Part B During a Special Enrollment Period” Then attach your Group Health Plan or Large Group Health Plan evidence.
  2. Fax or mail your CMS-40BCMS-L564, and secondary evidence to your local Social Security office (see list of secondary evidence below).

Note: When completing the forms CMS-40B and CMS-L564

  • In the notes section of the  CMS-40B form or online application, write “I want Part B coverage to begin (MM/YY).”
  • If at all possible, have your employer complete Section B.
  • If your employer is unable to complete Section B, please fill out that section on behalf of your employer as best you can without your employer’s signature and submit one of the secondary proof options below:
  • Health insurance premiums are shown on a tax return.
  • Pre-tax medical contributions are reflected on W-2s.
  • Pay stubs that show deductions for health insurance premiums.
  • Cards for health insurance with a policy start date.
  • Benefits paid by the GHP or LGHP are explained.
  • Payment of health insurance premiums is reflected on statements or receipts.

Unless you choose otherwise, you’ll get Original Medicare (Parts A and B). To assist pay for expenditures that Original Medicare does not cover, you can add a medication plan (Part D) or purchase a Medigap policy. You can join a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) to have all of your Medicare benefits (including medicines and other benefits like vision, hearing, and dentistry) packaged into one plan.

Extra Help may be available to persons with low resources and income to help pay for Part D prescription costs.

What Happens After I Apply?

Medicare is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). They will send you a Welcome to Medicare packet along with your Medicare card once you have been enrolled. You’ll also get a copy of the Medicare & You guide, which contains vital details about your Medicare coverage options.

Other Medicare Enrollment Options

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If you live in Puerto Rico, you will not automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part B (medical insurance). If you don’t sign up for it during your initial enrollment time, you’ll be charged a fee. Please call our toll-free hotline at 1-800-772-1213 to join up (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can also contact the Social Security Administration in your area. Using our Office Locator, you can find your nearest Social Security office.

You can also contact the Federal Benefits Unit in your country of residency if you do not live in the United States or one of its territories.

If you live in Puerto Rico, you will not automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part B (medical insurance). If you don’t sign up for it during your initial enrollment time, you’ll be charged a fee. Please call our toll-free hotline at 1-800-772-1213 to join up (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can also contact the Social Security Administration in your area. Using our Office Locator, you can find your nearest Social Security office.

You can also contact the Federal Benefits Unit in your country of residency if you do not live in the United States or one of its territories.

I want to sign up for only Part A or both Part A & Part B

You have two choices once you’re eligible for Medicare (typically three months before you turn 65):

  1. Only Medicare coverage is available if you sign up for it.
  2. To begin receiving Social Security payments, fill out an application (or the Railroad Retirement Board). You’ll automatically acquire Part A coverage after you’ve been approved to start receiving benefits. When you apply for benefits, you’ll be asked if you want Part B coverage.

You’ll get a welcome packet with your Medicare card once you join up (or are accepted for benefits).

When you’re ready, contact Social Security to sign up:

  • Apply online (at Social Security) is the simplest and quickest way to join up and receive any financial assistance you may require. To sign up for Medicare or apply for Social Security benefits online, you’ll need to create a secure Social Security account.
  • Contact your local Social Security office.
  • Call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 if you or your spouse worked for a railroad.

You might be able to buy Part A if you don’t qualify for Part A without having to pay a monthly premium. You must also register for Part B in order to purchase Part A.

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I have Part A & want to add Part B

Contact Social Security to sign up for Part B:

If you’re enrolling because you’re retiring or have lost your job-based health insurance:

To be eligible for a

If you live outside the United States, you may wish to receive Part B if you plan to return to the United States for medical care. If you live in a foreign nation, Get help signing up for Part B if you live in a foreign country.

Other situations

If you want to enroll in any of the following programs, contact Social Security.

  • Only Part B (and you don’t think you’re eligible for the premium-free Part A)
  • After you’ve completed Part B, move on to Part A.

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I didn’t sign up for Part B when I first became eligible, but want to sign up now. I know there is a penalty for late enrollment. Is there any way to avoid the penalty?

No, in most cases. If you miss your Part B enrollment window, which runs from three months before your 65th birthday to three months after your 65th birthday, you will most likely be charged a late enrollment penalty once you enrol, which will be added to your premium payments for the balance of your enrollment. For each 12-month period that you delay enrolling, you will be penalized 10% of the usual monthly premium.

If you didn’t sign up for Part B during your original enrollment period, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), which allows you to sign up for Part B (and/or Part A) at any time as long as you or a spouse is employed and covered by a group health plan through that employment. There is also an 8-month SEP for those 65 and older who have coverage through a group health plan, which begins the month after the employment or group health plan coverage finishes. The late enrollment penalty does not apply if you enroll during a SEP.

You can only join up for Part A and/or Part B during the General Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year, if you missed your original enrollment period when you initially became eligible for Medicare. Your protection will begin on July 1st. (Effective January 1, 2023, coverage will begin on the first of the month after the month in which you enrolled during the General Enrollment Period.) You cannot enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B during the yearly open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7. Only persons with Medicare can use that enrollment period to sign up for prescription coverage or Medicare Advantage coverage or to switch coverage if they already have it.


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