Last updated on April 12th, 2022

Medicare Part A is inpatient coverage for eligible beneficiaries. Medicare Part A covers your hospital care, including skilled nursing care services, home health care, and hospice.

Unlike other parts of Medicare, Medicare Part A has no premium for many individuals who qualify. With some guidance, the process to sign up for Medicare Part A is simple.

Can I Sign Up for Medicare Part A Only?

It is not unusual to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B as soon as you are eligible. However, many people who are still working or have another creditable health coverage source will delay Medicare Part B and sign up for Medicare Part A only.

For most, Medicare Part A has no premium. You qualify for premium-free inpatient coverage when you pay Medicare taxes for 40 quarters (about ten years).

Once you become eligible for Medicare and receive Social Security benefits, you must complete form CMS-1763 through your local Social Security office to sign up for Medicare Part A only. On this form, you must check the box to request termination of medical insurance (Medicare Part B).

Those not yet receiving Social Security benefits will need to enroll in Medicare through the Social Security Administration. There are a few options for how to do this, which we describe below. It makes sense to sign up for Medicare Part A when you become eligible, especially if you have all the tax credits you need to receive this coverage with no premium.

Can I Apply for Medicare part B Online if I Already Have Part A?

If or when you decide to enroll in Medicare Part B coverage, you will have to do so through the Social Security Administration, which provides an online option. However, you also must complete form CMS-40B, which is the Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance).

You can enroll in Medicare Part B without penalties if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Medicare allows Special Enrollment Periods due to certain beneficiary life events. For example, suppose a beneficiary loses the employer group coverage from their time of eligibility when they decided to delay Part B.

Those who recently lost group health coverage through an employer or spouse must complete an additional form – CMS-L564, Request for Employment Information. The employer must complete Section B of this form as proof that you received coverage under their group health plan while you were eligible for Medicare.

These forms are available online. Once you complete the forms, you must mail or fax them to your local Social Security office.

If you delay Medicare Part B without creditable coverage, you will need to wait until the General Enrollment Period to apply for Medicare coverage. 

Part A Hospital Coverage

How do i enroll in medicare part A online?

Those eligible for Medicare can sign up for Part A inpatient insurance on the SSA website. The first step is to sign up for a My SSA account.

How To Apply for Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A and Part B make up Original Medicare. Both parts of Original Medicare require you to enroll through the Social Security Administration. If you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits a minimum of four months before Medicare eligibility, you will automatically enroll. The SSA provides multiple enrollment methods for those who do not qualify for auto-enrollment. 

  1. Online: The process to apply online is the same for Medicare Parts A and B and takes roughly 10 minutes. Visit SSA.gov and click the Medicare link on their homepage. You will need to sign up for a My SSA account first. Then, you can log in to check on your application status.
  2. Over the Phone: If you wish to enroll via telephone, call the SSA’s toll-free number (1-800-772-1213).
  3. In-Person: To find a Social Security office near you, use the locator on the SSA website.

Learn About the
Four Parts of Medicare

Apply for Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care.

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Apply for Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers outpatient services.

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Apply for Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans.

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Apply for Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.

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