To qualify for Medicare, you have to have paid the Medicare payroll tax for at least ten years of your work life or meet other specific requirements. You must also be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. If you're not sure you're entitled to Medicare, call your local Social Security office or the Social Security toll-free telephone number at 800-772-1213 to find out.
You should get a package of Medicare information, including your Medicare card, in the mail. If you don't receive this information by your 65 th birthday, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to request it.
If you don't get Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you need to sign up for Medicare at your local Social Security office. There's a seven-month period during which you enroll in Medicare.
- During the three months before your 65th birthday.
- During the month of your 65th birthday.
- During the three months after your 65th birthday.
The best time to sign up for Medicare is during the three months before your 65th birthday.