1. Am I eligible right now? You become eligible when you reach 65 years old. (People with some disabilities can apply earlier.) The relationship between Social Security and Medicare may be confusing. You do not have to sign up for your Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits at the same time. And you can enroll in Medicare either through your local Social Security office or at medicare.gov. If you work past age 65 and have employer health insurance, you may postpone enrolling in Medicare.
Here's an online questionnaire from Medicare to help you confirm that you are eligible.
2. When can I enroll in Medicare and what are the deadlines? You can enroll as early as three months before you turn 65. Review your open enrollment period because there are deadlines and penalties that affect you.
3. How do I enroll? When you sign up for Social Security, Medicare automatically enrolls you in Part A, but you must sign up for Part B, if you want it. If you are 65 and haven't signed up for Social Security but want Medicare benefits, you must sign up for them.
Visit the enrollment section of Medicare.gov to sign up.
4. What are the costs of Medicare and can I afford them? Medicare Part A is free for most people. You pay for Part B, if you choose it. Learn more about how much you will pay for the Part B premium. You pay for Part D with a monthly premium and your plan may include out-of-pocket expenses such as copayments, coinsurance and annual deductibles.
5. How do I evaluate the costs of different plan options? There's a significant difference in coverage and cost among the major choices. To learn more, understand Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage costs.