Original Medicare is made up of Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and covers inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility hospice care and home health care. Medicare Part B is your outpatient coverage and covers two types of services: preventive and medically necessary. Once you sign up for Medicare Part B, you will have coverage for doctors’ appointments, durable medical equipment, lab tests, and more.

To avoid unexpected costs, you’ll want to sign up for Medicare Part B as soon as you are eligible or lose creditable coverage. 

Do I automatically get Medicare Part B when I turn 65?

If you have been a United States Citizen for at least 5 years, you will become eligible for Medicare Part B at age 65. However, this does not mean you will automatically enroll in Medicare Part B coverage.

If you are turning 65 and have been receiving Social Security benefits you do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B on your own, you will automatically be enrolled in coverage. On the other hand, if you are not receiving Social Security benefits, you will need to contact your local Social Security office to enroll in Medicare Part B benefits.


It is possible to sign up for Medicare Part B only, but it isn’t typical. There isn’t much benefit to apply for Medicare Part B only. Since Medicare Part A has a zero-premium for most beneficiaries, enrolling in both Medicare Part A and Part B when eligible makes sense.

So, while it is possible, it is not recommended to only apply for Medicare Part B.

What Forms Do I Need to Apply for Medicare Part B?

To apply for Medicare Part B, you will need to fill out form CMS-40B. This form acts as the Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B.

If you have a Special Enrollment Period due to loss of group health coverage through an employer or spouse, you will also need to complete Section A of form CMS-L564. Once complete, the employer will complete Section B. This form is proof of your recent coverage through their plan.

Can I Apply for Medicare Part B While Still Working?

Individuals who are Medicare-eligible can apply for Medicare Part B while still working. If your group health plan is through an employer with fewer than 20 employees, it is advisable to do so to avoid the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty.

However, if you have creditable coverage for Medicare, you can delay Part B with no penalty. Commonly, creditable coverage is group health insurance through an employer with at least 20 employees. Ensuring your coverage is creditable can save you money and hassle in the future when enrolling in Medicare Part B benefits.

Part B Outpatient Coverage

How do i enroll in
medicare part b online?

If you're eligible for Medicare, you can sign up for Part B on the Social Security website. You'll need a My SSA account to get started.

How To Apply for Medicare Part B?

Together, Part A and Part B comprise Original Medicare. Individuals receiving benefits for at least four months from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) enroll in Medicare automatically upon eligibility. If you are eligible but do not qualify for automatic enrollment, you can sign up through the Social Security Administration. 

  1. Online: There is an online option for enrollment on SSA.gov. If you don’t already have one, create a My SSA account, then access the portal to sign up for Original Medicare. After completing the process, log into your My SSA account to check on the status of your application.
  2. Over the Phone: By calling the toll-free number for SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
  3. In-Person: At your local field office, which you can find using SSA’s tool to search for the office closest to you.

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.

read more

Apply for Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans.

read more

Apply for Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.

read more

Jagger Esch

Medicare Expert

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

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