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Getting Started with Medicare

Qualifying for Medicare

 To qualify for Original Medicare, you need to be a U.S. citizen or resident with one of the following qualifiers:

  •  Age 65 or older, or
  • Under age 65 and disabled (permanently disabled for 24 months or more), or
  • Living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). You can't sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan with ESRD, but if you develop ESRD as a plan member, you can't be disenrolled for that reason.

Enroll in Original Medicare

Medicare can cover a lot of your healthcare expenses in retirement. Part A is free if you or your spouse paid into Social Security for at least 10 years through employment. Everyone should enroll in Part A. You may want to wait to enroll in part B. 

How to enroll

If you're already getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you'll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A. If you're not, you'll need to sign up for Medicare yourself with the Social Security Administration. You can:

  • Enroll by phone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778), 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Enroll online at
  • Visit a Social Security office near you and enroll in person. Call for an appointment and a list of documents you'll need to bring with you. 


If You... Then...
Plan to retire at age 65 or are not working, and don't already receive Social Security You can enroll in Medicare benefits.
Already receive Social Security retirement, disability or railroad retirement benefits You'll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A.
Are currently covered by an employer-provided group health plan Talk to your human resources department before you enroll in Medicare.
Plan to continue working past age 65 You have the option to delay enrolling in Medicare Part B. Delaying may affect when you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement policy, a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Part D prescription drug plan.

Note: If you’re under 65 and eligible for Medicare due to disability or end stage renal (kidney) disease (ESRD), you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months, or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months.

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Good to know:

Want extra coverage? Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B BEFORE you can purchase additional coverage that helps pick up where Original Medicare leaves off. If you’re turning 65, the best time to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B is during the 3 months before your 65th birthday. This helps to ensure that you can enroll in additional coverage options and that your coverage will start on the first day of the month you turn 65.

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Enrolling in Medicare

 When to enroll

Your initial enrollment period is a 7-month timeframe. It includes:

  • The 3 months before the month you turn 65,
  • Your birth month, and
  • The 3 months after your birth month.

 What you'll need
  • An original or certified copy of your birth certificate,
  • Any W-2 forms you have from the last 2 years, and
  • Your Social Security card or number.

 How to enroll
  • To request an application, visit the Social Security Administration office nearest you or
  • call 1-800-772-1213 weekdays, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)
  • Once completed, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.

This application is not a guarantee that you will receive coverage. Upon approval of your application, you will receive an approval letter and a contract. You can become a Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska (Premera) Medicare supplement member if you:
Reside in Alaska,
Currently have both Medicare Part A and Part B, and
Don't receive Medicaid assistance other than payment of your Medicare Part B premium.

You do not need more than one Medicare supplement plan. If you currently have a Medicare supplement plan or Medicare Advantage plan (including a Medicare HMO or PPO), you cannot be enrolled unless you intend to replace your current coverage. Please complete a replacement form. If you purchase this contract, you may want to evaluate your existing health coverage and decide if you need multiple coverages.

You may be eligible for benefits under Medicaid and may not need a Medicare supplement plan. Medicaid is a public aid program for people with low income. It is not the same as Medicare.

If, after purchasing this plan, you become entitled to Medicaid, the benefits and subscription charges under your Medicare Supplement contract can be suspended, if requested, during your entitlement to benefits under Medicaid for 24 months. You must request this suspension within 90 days of being eligible for Medicaid. If you are no longer entitled to Medicaid, your suspended Medicare supplement plan (or, if that is no longer available, a substantially equivalent plan) will be re-instituted if requested within 90 days of losing Medicaid eligibility.

Counseling services may be available in your state to provide advice concerning your purchase of Medicare supplement coverage and concerning medical assistance through the state Medicaid program, including benefits as a "Qualified Medicare Beneficiary" (QMB) or a "Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary" (SLMB).

Except that you must provide information on diseases and disorders for which you have symptoms, please do not provide any information on any part of this application about genetic testing or genetic information, including any decision by an insurance company that is based on a genetic test or genetic information.

Plan A 021202 (06-2010); 021198 (06-2010); Plan N 021203 (06-01-2010); 021199 (06-01-2010); Plan F 021204 (06-2010); 021200 (06-2010); High Deductible Plan F 021205 (06-2010); 021201 (06-2010); Plan G 042196 (01-2018); 042195 (01-2018); High Deductible Plan G 049580 (01-2020); 049581 (01-2020).