December 05, 2014 How-To

Signing Up for Medicare

You might not consider 65 a “big” birthday, but it is. If you’re approaching your 65th, it’s time to start thinking about applying for Medicare. First things first: Are you eligible for Medicare? Even if you’re not yet 65, you might qualify if you have a special condition or disability. You can determine your eligibility and calculate your premium online at This site will also tell you whether you will receive coverage automatically or if you need to apply for Medicare coverage.

You might automatically qualify for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B if:

  • You’re already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
  • You’re younger than 65 and have a disability.
  • You have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
  • You live in Puerto Rico and get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.

If any of these circumstances apply and you qualify for automatic Medicare enrollment, you’ll receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail three months prior to your 65th birthday or your 25th month of disability. If none of the above conditions applies, you can sign up for Medicare coverage through Social Security, either online, at your local Social Security office, or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. The best time to sign up is during the three months before you turn 65. Once you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you’re eligible for additional Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan if you so choose.

I may need additional coverage. What are my options?

Before deciding whether you want to stick with Original Medicare, which provides Part A (inpatient hospital visits, skilled nursing facility stays, home health care visits, hospice care) and Part B coverage (doctor visits, outpatient services, preventive care, some home health visits) or purchase a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan from a health insurer like CDPHP®, you’ll want to consider your budget, your health care needs, and where and when you plan to travel. Use this helpful Medicare enrollment resource to research the right plan for you.

More about Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans include Part A and Part B benefits and are offered through private insurers. They replace Original Medicare and usually include prescription drug coverage, or Part D, as well as vision, dental, and hearing care services. Most plans also offer access to certain wellness benefits.

CDPHP Medicare plans include Medicare Advantage HMO plans and Medicare Advantage PPO plans. In addition to comprehensive benefits, members can take advantage of the following no-cost, value-added services:

CDPHP can help you make the right choice

CDPHP is a one-stop shop for everything you need. We’re here to help you choose the right plan, assist you with the Medicare enrollment process, and show you how you can get the most out of your Medicare coverage. Call us today at 1-888-519-4455 (TTY/TDD: 1-877-261-1164), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. You’ll be connected to a live, knowledgeable CDPHP Medicare sales representative based in Albany. We look forward to hearing from you!


Photo by Velupillai / CC BY

Alicia Kelley
About the Author

Alicia joined CDPHP in 2005 and is currently Vice President, Medicare Performance. In this role she is responsible for the growth, retention and oversight of the operational administration of our Individual Medicare Advantage plans. Prior to working at CDPHP, Alicia worked as a Facilitated Enrollment Specialist for Healthy Capital District Initiative, a local not-for-profit, assisting community members in obtaining access to Medicaid, Family Health Plus, and Child Health Plus. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Siena College, with a minor in Sociology.

One Response to “Signing Up for Medicare”

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