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If I get Social Security benefits can I still sign up for Medicare?

Americans can sign up for Medicare after they turn 65.

Social Security cards

By that time, it is likely that they are already getting Social Security benefits.

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Can I receive both?

If you already receive Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B when you turn 65. Your initial enrollment period (IEP) is three months before turning 65. At this time, Social Security will send you instructions. Find additional details here.

Enrollment is not automatic for those who started getting Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits four months or less before their 65th birthday. That means you will need to register for Medicare coverage.

Medicare enrollment is not mandatory. However, you will need to opt out of coverage if you don’t want it. In order to opt out, you’ll need to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Each person’s IEP includes a 7 month window around their 65th birthday. If you wait until your birthday month to sign up for coverage, it will cause a delay and result in higher insurance costs.

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What parts of Medicare will I be enrolled in?

Medicare has four parts: A, B, C, and D. Parts A and B are overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Parts C and D are both privately organized. That means the automatic enrollment only applies to parts A and B.

Part A is related to hospital inpatient services. It covers the cost of hospital, nursing facility and hospice services. Part B is concerned with outpatient coverage. This means it helps cover services that are administered outside the hospital.

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