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What Documents Do I Need to Enroll in Medicare?

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A List of Documents You’ll Need to Sign Up for Medicare

When signing up for Medicare Parts A and B, it’s a good idea to have the following documents at hand:

Birth Certificate

Without a disability or other qualifying condition, you’ll need to be at least 65 years old to enroll in Medicare. 

However, your initial enrollment period (IEP) begins three months before you turn 65 and extends three months beyond your birth month, giving you a total of seven months during which you can sign up. And while you might not always need your birth certificate, it’s often a good idea to have it on hand.

Related: How Do Special Medicare Enrollment Periods Work?

IHS Pro Tip: Each state has different request forms and fees. However, you can visit the CDC’s Where to Write for Vital Records site to access a state-by-state list of where to obtain birth, death, marriage, and divorce records.

Keep in mind that if you choose to have your certificate expedited for faster delivery, you may incur an additional fee and be required to submit a copy of your ID or a signed request form.

Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Residency

This is another document that you might not need when enrolling in Medicare, but one that’s good to have nearby or keep in your health documents folder. 

To qualify for Medicare, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident of the U.S. for at least five continuous years prior to your application date. This means that if you weren’t born in the U.S., Medicare might require that you submit a copy of your Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship, which you can obtain from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

IHS Pro Tip: To request these documents, you’ll need to file Form N-565 (Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship), either online or by mail. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a $555 fee and send in two identical passport-style photos. You might also have to send in a sworn statement or provide a copy of a police report if your original was lost or stolen.

Permanent Resident Card

Along these same lines, a Permanent Resident Card (often referred to colloquially as a “Green Card”) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. 

You might need yours when enrolling in Medicare, so if you don’t have it, you can request a replacement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (FORM I-90). Remember that you’ll have to pay $455 processing and $85 biometrics fees and provide a copy of a government-issued ID.

Social Security Card

If you already receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you may be required to show your Social Security card during the application process.

Health Insurance Details

In some instances, you might be able to enroll in Medicare without receiving any benefits while you maintain other health insurance (such as through your or your spouse’s employer).

If this is the case, you’ll need to provide paperwork that outlines your insurance plan’s coverage, terms, and conditions. This way, if you file a claim for health care services, Medicare can use these documents to discern which insurer is responsible for payment.

Tax Details

You could qualify for premium-free Part A (hospital insurance) coverage, depending on the number of years you’ve been employed and the length of time you’ve paid into the Medicare system. Furthermore, Medicare can determine your Part B (medical insurance) premium based on your reported income over the past two years.

Related: The Basics About Medicare Part A Coverage

In either instance, tax documents (such as a W-2) can come in especially handy.

Part B Application

Along these same lines, you’ll likely need to fill out a separate Part B application if you were originally eligible but opted out of coverage.

Military Service Records

If you receive any military or veterans benefits, you may have to provide records of your service. Fortunately, there’s no fee.

However, you will need to fill out the appropriate form for the branch you served in, along with additional details like: 

  • Your date of birth;
  • Your Social Security number;
  • Your service dates;
  • The name you used.

Income Documentation

You shouldn’t need to submit any additional documentation when you enroll in Part C (Advantage plan) or Part D (prescription drug) coverage.

However, if you apply for assistance through the Part D Extra Help program, you’ll need to provide some recent information about your income, such as:

  • Pay stubs;
  • Bank statements;
  • Tax returns;
  • Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits statements;
  • Investment account statements.

Related: Are You Eligible for Programs that Help Lower Medicare Costs?

Have Questions About Documents You’ll Need When Enrolling in Medicare?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides several different methods of enrolling in Medicare, most of which are reasonably straightforward. However, complexities can arise if you fall outside the norm and need to submit supplementary paperwork with your application.

Fortunately, the staff at IHS Insurance Group is here to help, whether you have questions about coverage, rates, the application process, or anything else related to Medicare.

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Also, check out our Medicare FAQs here.