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When Am I Eligible For Medicare?

Enrolling In Medicare For The First Time

You enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, or IEP. Your IEP covers the month you turn 65 and the 3 months before and after. It’s best to sign up for Medicare early in your IEP so your coverage will begin as soon as you’re eligible. If you miss your IEP or wait too long to sign up, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty. Medicare may not notify you about your eligibility, so it’s important to know your IEP dates and put them on your calendar.

During your IEP, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, C and D.

Enrolling in Medicare for the first time infographic

If you currently receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you may be automatically enrolled. You’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail a few months before your 65th birthday and you’ll still have an IEP to make your coverage selections.


Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment window consists of a six month period that begins the month you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B. You can apply for a Medicare supplement plan after this period, but if you do not have a Special Enrollment Period, you will be subject to medical underwriting.

6 month Medicare supplemental

Annual Enrollment Period

Every year, you get an opportunity to review your coverage and decide if it’s time to make a change. The Annual Enrollment Period is when you choose your Medicare health and drug coverage for the following year. Annual Enrollment occurs October 15 - December 7 for everyone enrolled in Medicare. During this period you can keep your existing Part C or Part D plan, if it’s still available, or sign up for a new plan if your needs have changed. Your new coverage will begin January 1.

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How Do I Enroll In A Medicare Plan?

Enrolling In Original Medicare

Remember, Medicare may not notify you about your eligibility and you have to take action to get enrolled. When you’re ready to enroll, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Original or copy of your birth certificate.
  • Any W-2 forms you have from the last two years.
  • Your social security card or number.

You can enroll:

By phone

Call Social Security's national customer hotline
At 1-800-722-1213

Beyond Original Medicare

After you complete your initial enrollment in Original Medicare Part A and Part B, you can choose additional coverage. Review Medicare Basics to learn more about additional coverage options.

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Do I Enroll In Medicare If I’m Working Beyond 65?

I have insurance coverage through an employer. Do I have to enroll in Original Medicare?

In most cases, you can choose to delay Medicare enrollment, drop your employer coverage for Medicare or have both Medicare and employer coverage.

In most cases, you will need to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

Enrollment will depend on the employer's rules. Talk to the benefits administrator for details.

You may decide enrolling in Medicare is your best choice even if you can delay. If you enroll in Medicare and have an Employer-sponsored health plan, one will be primary coverage and the other secondary.

Medicare Basics

You have options when it comes to selecting your Medicare coverage. Explore the basic parts of Medicare.

Learn more about Medicare

Choosing your plan

There is no "one size fits all" to Medicare plans. Explore what you should consider when selecting your coverage.

Learn more about Choosing your plan
  • H4213_PFFS Website 2020
  • S5795_PDP Website 2020
  • H9699_HMO Website 2020
  • H4213_PFFS Website 2021
  • S5795_PDP Website 2021
  • H9699_HMO Website 2021
  • H3554_PPO Website 2021
  • H6158_HMO Website 2021

Last updated 10/01/2020