An Overview of Medicare

Understanding the A's, B's, C's and D's of Medicare

Medicare Eligibility

Your Medicare eligibility typically begins on your 65th birthday. People with certain disabilities or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) are eligible sooner. The information on this page is presented to help you learn more about the various parts of Medicare and to help you avoid missing important deadlines where your Medicare benefits are concerned.

Enrolling in Medicare

You can apply for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th
birthday or up to three months after your 65th birthday (a seven month period in total).

To apply for Medicare, simply contact the Social Security Administration at 1(800) 772-1213 or
visit their website at

Not enrolling in Medicare when you are eligible may result in financial penalties and time delay for enrollment.

If you are working and covered by a group health plan of more than 20 people, you may not need to enroll in Medicare until you retire.

If you are covered under a spouse’s active employment health insurance of more than 20 people, you may not need to enroll until your spouse retires. There will be no penalty for delayed enrollment.

Medicare Resources

  • Medicare Seminars
    Click the link above to find information about free Medicare seminars provided by SHIP.
  • Medicare and You
    This handbook provides an in-depth look at Medicare eligibility, benefits, and enrollment.

Medicare Topics