How to Enroll in Medicare

by Heather Topham Wood ; Updated October 25, 2017

Items you will need

  • Photo I.D.
  • Most recent tax returns

If you are close to the age of 65, you may wonder how you can enroll in Medicare. Medicare is a type of health insurance coverage provided by the government to people over 65 and, in some cases, to individuals with disabilities under 65. Medicare is available in two parts: Part A covers hospital expenses, while Part B covers medical expenses.

Step 1

Choose the type of coverage you want prior to turning 65. Part A does not require premium payments, while Part B recipients must pay a monthly premium. Medicare’s initial enrollment period lasts three months before your 65th birthday and seven months after.

Step 2

Visit your local social security office to get the application form and meet with a representative to determine eligibility. To find the nearest social security office, log on the social security web site and use the office locator tool. Call first to set up an appointment to meet with a representative.

Step 3

Fill out the Initial Enrollment Application Package. You will need to provide your social security number, income, retirement status, marital status and information about other health benefits you may be receiving. You will fill out this application during your appointment. Bring along a photo ID. You may want to bring along a copy of your most recent tax return as well in order to provide information about your income.

Step 4

Wait for the social security office to review your application for approval. Once enrolled, you will receive a welcome package and a copy of your Medicare card. The approval process takes an average of four to six weeks.


  • You can enroll in Medicare during the annual general enrollment period offered through the organization if you did not sign up before you turned 65. Each year, this period occurs during January 1 and March 31. Keep in mind that if you did not sign up for Medicare Part B during the initial enrollment period, your premiums will go up ten percent annually.


About the Author

Heather Topham Wood is a seasoned writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including USA Today, Gadgetell, Feel Rich and Step in Style. Heather is a published novelist with six Amazon bestsellers and a contract through Crescent Moon Press. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from TCNJ.