When can I enroll in Medicare?

An elderly couple sitting down outside. When can they enroll in Medicare?

Photograph by Gustavo Fring on Pexels

Health insurance can be confusing for many people. You might wonder whom you can trust with your personal information. Empower Brokerage has friendly licensed agents that assist you in finding the right plan for you. Let’s examine a few common questions and answers about when you can first enroll in Medicare.


If I am almost 65 years old, when can I enroll in Medicare? 

If people are close to age 65 but not receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, they will need to enroll in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) (Medicare and You, Page 17).


When is my initial enrollment period (IEP)? 

A seven-month window begins three months before a person turns 65 and ends three months after the person’s birthday month. People can contact Social Security, or if they worked for a railroad, they would reach out to the Railroad Retirement Board. For example, if your 65th birthday is in July, then your IEP begins in April and ends on October 31. If your 65th birthday falls on the first day of a month, the IEP moves forward one month. For instance, if your birthday is July 1, your IEP starts on March 1 and ends on September 30.


If I am about to turn 65, when does my Medicare coverage start? 

If a person enrolls during the first three months of their IEP, then their Medicare coverage starts on the first day of the month they turn 65 years old. However, if the individual’s birthday falls on the first day of a month, their coverage begins on the first day of the previous month. What if you sign up later? If an individual signs up for Part B during their birthday month, the fourth month, coverage will start the following month. Coverage will be delayed by two or three months if a person enrolls in the fifth, sixth, or seventh month. In 2023, that will change. If a person enrolls during the fifth, sixth, or seventh month, the coverage will start the next month.


What if I missed signing up during my initial enrollment period? 

People who missed enrolling during their Initial Enrollment Period can sign up for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you have an employer’s group health plan coverage, you can enroll in Part A and Part B while the plan covers you. Also, you can enroll during the eight-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever occurs first (Medicare and You, Page 18). Suppose you do not sign up during your initial enrollment period and do not qualify for a SEP. In that case, you can sign up for Medicare during the upcoming General Enrollment Period (GEP) between January 1 and March 31. You may have to pay a higher Part A or Part B premium for late enrollment. Starting January 1, 2023, if you sign up during the GEP, your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you enroll (Medicare and You, Page 19).


What if I am over 65 and have already enrolled in a Medicare plan?

If you have already enrolled in a Medicare plan but want to change your plan to fit your current health needs, you can do so during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). This time frame begins on October 15 and ends on December 7. We recommend speaking with one of our friendly licensed agents at the phone number below to explain further details and answer all your Medicare questions. 

If you found this information valuable, please read about life insurance awareness.

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About Joey Hinojosa

Joey Hinojosa graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in mass communications. He began working at Empower Brokerage in early 2022 and enjoys being creative in his writing, photography, videography, and other projects.

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