Not ready to retire? You can still apply for Medicare online

By Vonda Van Til, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Did you know that you can apply for Medicare online even if you are not ready to retire?  And it takes less than 10 minutes!  There are no forms to sign and usually no required documentation.  We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information.  To apply for Medicare and find other important information, visit

If you want to start receiving Medicare at age 65, you must apply for Medicare no earlier than three months before your 65th birthday and no later than three months after that birthday.  We refer to this window of opportunity to apply for Medicare as your initial enrollment period.

Some Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help to pay for the monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to the Medicare Prescription Drug program.  You must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia to qualify for the Extra Help.  For more information on Extra Help, visit

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Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at