How to Enroll in Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is the component of a Medicare Plan that deals with your Hospital Insurance.  It helps to cover your inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care.  Most people enrolled in Medicare Part A don’t pay premiums for this insurance.

Depending on what circumstances surround your enrollment, how you sign up for Medicare Part A will vary.  For the majority of people, enrollment is automatic. 

One of the most common situations in which automatic enrollment takes place is if you are currently receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.  In such cases, enrollment will begin at the start of your 65th birthday month.  Your Medicare card will be mailed out approximately three months before, and will indicate the coverage start date.

Another situation in which you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A is if you are under 65 and disabled, and are receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, and have been for 24 months.  Approximately three months before your 25th month of disability benefits, you will be mailed your Medicare card.  In the case of ALS, the process is much faster; you will receive Medicare Part A the first month of your disability benefits.

There are situations, of course, in which enrollment in Medicare Part A is not automatic, like if you haven’t yet filed for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits and are nearing 65.  You will also need to apply if you have ESRD, and may apply upon diagnosis.  To enroll, call Social Security Administration at 1-800-325-0778.

Look at your personal situation and decide whether or not you qualify for automatic enrollment, or if you will need to take steps to sign up.  Be proactive.  After all, your health matters!

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