What is the application process for Medicare?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The application process for Medicare requires you to make basic selections about your coverage. If you are already receiving Social Security and eligible for Medicare, you will be automatically enrolled. There’s no application process for you at all.


If you are eligible for Medicare but not yet receiving retirement benefits, the easiest way to apply is online. You will need to answer a series of questions to help you determine whether to file for both retirement and Medicare.


Once you finish answering all the questions and submit them, you are all set. You typically do not have to sign any forms. If during processing the Social Security office needs more information, they will get in touch with you. Other than that, you can just sit tight and wait for your Medicare card to arrive in the mail within 45 to 90 days.


If you don’t want to apply online, call or visit the Social Security Administration to request an application. Make sure you have some proof of identification such as a birth certificate or driver’s license. You will also need to verify your other insurance policies. If you are disabled, you will need to provide the names of healthcare providers who treat you.


Keep in mind that even if you aren’t Bill Gates, applying online is a lot easier and less time-consuming than driving to a Social Security office or waiting for an appointment with a Social Security representative.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.