How to Apply for Medicare in California


Select residents need to learn how to enroll in Medicare in California, as some are automatically signed up upon reaching eligibility. Applicants who have to register for Medicare in California on their own, must do so within the initial enrollment timeframe or during open and special enrollment periods. It is important for eligible residents to sign up for Medicare during their initial enrollment period for Medicare insurance, as failure to do so can result in ongoing penalties. Discover in-depth information about California Medicare health insurance application in our state guide here.

California Medicare Enrollment Periods

The initial enrollment period for Medicare applicants occurs when they become eligible to sign up for the health insurance program. This Medicare enrollment period is different for each person, as it is dependent on the resident’s date of birth, diagnosis or treatment. Petitioners who do not submit a Medicare application during their initial eligibility enrollment timeframe may be subject to late penalties and must wait until another enrollment period to register for government health insurance. Likewise, the coverage date will depend on when the applicant submitted an application. For example, a California resident who becomes eligible to enroll based on age will receive coverage starting in his or her birthday month if they register within three month beforehand. If the same individual waits until two or three month after becoming of age, they will need to wait three months for Medicare coverage.

The annual Medicare enrollment period is a specific time of year when all petitioners can apply for enrollment. Although this timeframe takes place in the current year, coverage will not go into effect until January. Special Medicare enrollment periods are available to California residents under certain circumstances. Special enrollment periods can manifest when residents have or lose existing health insurance as well as experience a qualifying life event. There are also times when applicants can enroll in Medicare insurance plans for which they did not initially qualify. Likewise, there are specific periods for switching between Medicare parts.

How to Apply for Medicare in California

Residents may not have to submit a Medicare enrollment application if they currently receive specific retirement or disability benefits. Beneficiaries will receive a Medicare enrollment letter notifying them of automatic Part A and Part B registration. This may occur around the birthday in which they became eligible or after a specific waiting period, such as for disabilities.

Residents who meet the eligibility requirements for Medicare and are not enrolled automatically will need to submit an application. Medicare enrollment applications have three submission options. Petitioners can sign up for Medicare via phone by calling Social Security during call center hours. Applicants can apply for Medicare in California by visiting a local Social Security office by calling ahead to make an appointment. However, the most convenient method is learning how to apply for Medicare online, as this option gives residents the ability to verify earnings, print verification letters and apply for the prescription drug Extra Help program. The online Medicare health insurance application takes only 10 minutes to complete with you have needed information and documentation on hand.

If you are not certain if you need to register for Medicare in California, you can find more information from our downloadable guide.

Needed Information When Signing up for Medicare in California

When submitting a Medicare application, petitioners are required to provide certain pieces of information and documentation. To show proof of eligibility, Medicare health insurance applications request data about the petitioner (and spouse, if applicable) concerning health insurance, marital status, dependents and more. Before starting a Medicare enrollment application, California residents should gather Social Security Numbers, marital and dissolution dates as well proof of legal residency in the country. To apply for Medicare online, applicants must have accurate details, as the system will not be able to process request if, for example, the Social Security Number, name and date of birth do not match Social Security records.

Choosing When to Enroll in Medicare in California

It makes sense to enroll in Medicare upon becoming eligible because Part A coverage is usually free. Many people choose to sign up for Medicare Part A even though they may already have health coverage. However, you may choose to postpone applying for Medicare Part A if you are have coverage through your or your spouse’s current employer. Likewise, you can delay enrolling in Part B, but you may incur increased monthly premiums when you do enroll. You will have to pay a premium for Part B regardless of your situation, but how much you will pay will depend on your level of income as well as if you enrolled when you were initially eligible.

To learn more about Medicare plans in California, download our comprehensive guide.

What Are the Available Health Services in California?

Low-cost, and even free health benefits are available to a large number of California residents, with some being offered to low-income applicants and others being offered to elderly or disabled individuals. However, before you can access these health services, you need to submit the appropriate application and prove that you meet the necessary qualifications. To learn all about the different health benefits you can receive in California and the application procedures that you must undergo to obtain these benefits, download our free comprehensive guide.

Who Is Eligible to Obtain California Health Benefits?

California’s health programs have various eligibility requirements that applicants must meet in order to successfully enroll. Income, age and other factors are all taken into consideration in the eligibility verification process. Find out which health benefits you qualify for here.