When can I enroll?
There are specific rules for when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, a prescription drug plan, or a Medicare Supplement plan.
The different Medicare enrollment periods include:
Initial Enrollment Period – a 7-month period when you first become eligible for Medicare coverage due to age. It includes the three months before the month you turn 65, your birthday month, and the three months after your birthday month.
Open Enrollment Period – for those who want to choose a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan (most people qualify for this period, which occurs annually between October 15th and December 7th).
Special Enrollment Period – a variable time period for those with certain life events that allow them to enroll, disenroll or change Medicare coverage. SEP doesn’t occur during a specific time period but varies based on certain events that happen in your life. Some examples include:
- Permanently moving to a new location
- Becoming eligible for Medicare and Medicaid
- Entering a nursing home
- Having a low-income subsidy
- Involuntarily losing creditable prescription drug coverage
- Leaving or losing your employer's health plan
General Enrollment Period – from January 1 – March 31, is for those who were eligible to enroll in Medicare Part A (if you have to buy it) and/or Part B (for which you must pay a premium) but didn’t enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period.
When does my coverage begin?
Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you enroll in a plan. If you join during one of the 3 months prior to your 65th birthday, your coverage will being the first day of the month you turn 65.