Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including those who have disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure. The program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.
Apply for Medicare Only You can apply for Medicare even if you’re not ready to retire.
If you already have Medicare Part A and wish to sign up for Medicare Part B, please call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or contact your local Social Security office.
Medicare is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. It also is financed in part by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks.
Medicare has four parts:
- Hospital Insurance - helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care and hospice care.
- Medical Insurance - helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that are not covered by hospital insurance.
- Medicare Advantage - plans are available in many areas. People with Medicare Parts A and B can choose to receive all of their health care services through one of these provider organizations under Part C.
- Prescription Drug Coverage - helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment.
If you live in Puerto Rico you will not receive Medicare Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B) automatically. You will need to sign up for it during your initial enrollment period or you will pay a penalty. To sign up, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You also may contact your local Social Security office. You can find your local Social Security office by using our Office Locator.
Learn About Medicare
- Medicare publications
- Get Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs
- Medicare information for beneficiaries with higher incomes
- More Medicare information
- Understanding Medicare enrollment periods