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How to Complete Medicare Enrollment Forms

Adriana Anderson by Adriana Anderson | Licensed since 2009
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This article was updated on: 11/17/2016

As you approach the age of 65, you’ll want to make sure you enroll in the Medicare insurance plan that may suit your needs. To do so, you need to know how to sign up for Medicare and which Medicare application forms to complete.

Do I need Medicare enrollment forms for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B?

You might not need to worry about enrolling in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Many people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) when they become eligible, but some people have to apply on their own.

Here’s how you may qualify for automatic enrollment in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B):

  • If you’re already receiving Social Security Administration (SSA) or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) retirement benefits, you’ll typically get enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65.
  • If you’re under age 65, and you’ve been receiving disability benefits from the SSA or RRB for 24 months in a row, in most cases you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you reach the 25th month of receiving disability benefits.
  • If you’re under age 65 and have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), you can generally expect to be automatically enrolled in Medicare during the first month of receiving disability benefits from the SSA or RRB.

But in some cases, automatic enrollment in Medicare may not apply to your situation. Here are some examples of when you might need to enroll in Original Medicare manually, such as by filling out a Medicare application form:

  • If you decided to delay your SSA or RRB benefits until after you’re 65, or if you don’t qualify for SSA or RRB benefits until you’re beyond age 65
  • If you’re younger than 65 but have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which is permanent kidney failure requiring regular dialysis or a kidney transplant
  • If you delay enrollment in Medicare Part B until after your Initial Enrollment Period (described below). If and when you decide to sign up for Part B, you’ll have to do so manually.
  • If you live in Puerto Rico, even if you qualify for automatic enrollment in Medicare Part A, you need to sign up for Medicare Part B manually. While Part B is optional, it is required if you want to enroll in certain types of Medicare insurance described later in this article. Medicare Part B comes with a premium; read more about Part B.

When can I enroll in Original Medicare?

Assuming you don’t qualify for automatic enrollment, the first opportunity you have to enroll in Original Medicare is typically during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period, which generally begins three months before you turn 65, includes your birthday month, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.  If you don’t enroll at this time, you may face a late-enrollment penalty.

How do I apply for Original Medicare?

You can apply for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM. You can also apply online at the Social Security website and fill out the Medicare application form, or visit your local Social Security office in person and complete your Medicare enrollment form there. If you worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users: 1-312-751-4701), Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 3:30PM.

Do I need an application form for signing up for Medicare Advantage?

If you’d like, you may be able enroll in Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) as an alternative way to get your Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, benefits. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private health insurance companies that contract with Medicare to deliver your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits – with the exception of hospice care, which is still covered under Part A. Many Medicare Advantage plans include benefits beyond Part A and Part B coverage as well; for example, some plans offer prescription drug coverage, routine vision care, and/or wellness programs. (Medicare Part A and Part B may cover prescription drugs in specific situations, but for the most part this coverage doesn’t extend to medications you take at home.)

There are several types of Medicare Advantage plans, although not every type of plan may be available where you live. Examples of plan types include (but aren’t limited to) Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans, Special Needs Plans (SNPs), and Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans.

To qualify for a Medicare Advantage plan, you need to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B; live within the plan’s service area; and, in many cases, not have end-stage renal disease (ESRD). You can generally sign up for Medicare Advantage only during certain election periods.

To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you might need an application form, or a licensed insurance agent may complete one at your request and with your input. You can contact the insurance company itself, or sign up through a licensed insurance agency such as Medicare.com. You can also enroll by contacting Medicare directly. Contact information is at the bottom of this page.

You can compare Medicare Advantage plans available where you live; just click Find Plans or Compare Plans on this page. Note that you need to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium, along with any premium the plan may charge.

Do I need an application form for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?

Since Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, includes only limited prescription drug coverage, many beneficiaries sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage. You can get this coverage through certain Medicare Advantage plans (described above), or you can sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to work alongside your Original Medicare coverage.

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are available from private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. To qualify, you need to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B and live in the plan’s service area. Plan availability, costs, and benefit details may vary. Read about enrollment periods for Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.

As with Medicare Advantage plans, there are a few different ways you can enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. You can contact the insurance company that offers the plan; enroll through one of Medicare.com’s licensed insurance agents; or enroll through Medicare (contact information is at the bottom of this page).

To compare plans, as noted above, just click Compare Plans or Find Plans on this page.

What if I have questions about Medicare forms?

If you have questions about Medicare enrollment or eligibility, you can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM (TTY users, call 1-800-325-0778). You can also visit the Social Security office nearest you.

For questions about your Medicare coverage, you can contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (TTY users, call 1-877-486-2048). You can also visit Medicare.gov, which has a thorough listing of Medicare-related phone numbers and web links.

If you need to file a Medicare-related complaint, there are various Medicare forms you can complete, each related to a specific issue. Take a look at the online resources available for Medicare-related complaints.

If you suspect Medicare fraud, waste, or abuse, you should immediately report fraud online. Alternatively, you can call the HHS Office of Inspector General at 1-800-447-8477 (TTY users 1-800-377-4950) or CMS at 1-800-633-4227 (TTY users 1-877-486-2048).

When you move, you should notify Social Security about your change of address right away. If you receive Social Security benefits, you can change your address online by creating a My Social Security account. Once you have the account, you can access it by answering some security questions. You can also call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778) between 7AM and 7PM and speak to one their representatives, or visit the Social Security office nearest you and fill out a change of address form.

If you’ve lost your Medicare card, you can fill out an application form to request a Medicare replacement card on the Social Security Administration website. You can also call Social Security at the above phone number for help getting a new Medicare card.

Do you have questions about Medicare application forms? There are links below that let you schedule a phone appointment or have me email you more information. Learn more about me by clicking the “View profile” link below.  Want to compare Medicare plans on your own? Use the Compare Plans or Find Plans button on this page.

You can call Medicare.com’s licensed insurance agents at 1-844-847-2660, TTY users 711; Monday through Friday, 8AM to 8PM ET.

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