How to Enroll



Find Out if You're Eligible

To sign up for Medicare, you usually need to be over the age of 65 and you need to have worked at least 10 years at a place where you paid Medicare taxes. However, there are other circumstances where an individual might qualify for Medicare coverage of some kind.

You can find out if you're eligible for Medicare with the easy-to-use calculator at Medicare.gov.


Determine if You'll Be Signed Up Automatically

If one or more of the following applies to you, you may be automatically enrolled for Medicare:

  • If you already get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
  • You're under 65 and have a certain disability
  • You have ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
  • You live in Puerto Rico and get benefits from Social Security or the RRB

If one of more of the above are true, then you will receive your red, white and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of disability.

How Can I Sign Up for Medicare?

If you're not automatically enrolled for Medicare, there are several ways to sign up.

  • Apply online at Social Security
  • Visit your local Social Security Office in person
  • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)
  • If you worked for a railroad, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772
  • Visit or page and complete our simple, online enrollment form (IHL)

When Can I Enroll?


In general, you can enroll for Medicare within the 7 month period surrounding your 65th birthday, meaning the 3 months leading up to your birthday month, your birthday month, and the following 3 months. It is important to enroll within that time period because late enrollment could lead to higher costs for the rest of your life! So, when in doubt, give us a call!



This information is issued on behalf of Highmark Wholecare, coverage by Gateway Health Plan, which is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Highmark Wholecare serves a Medicaid plan to Blue Shield members in 13 counties in central Pennsylvania, as well as, to Blue Cross Blue Shield members in 27 counties in western Pennsylvania. Highmark Wholecare serves Medicare Dual Special Needs plans (D-SNP) to Blue Shield members in 14 counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, 12 counties in central Pennsylvania, 5 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, and to Blue Cross Blue Shield members in 27 counties in western Pennsylvania.

Health benefits or health benefit administration may be provided by or through Highmark Wholecare, coverage by Gateway Health Plan, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (“Highmark Wholecare”). Highmark Wholecare offers HMO plans with a Medicare Contract. Enrollment in these plans depends on contract renewal.



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