This is your first chance to enroll in Medicare.
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is when most people first enroll in Medicare. You need to pay attention to the dates of your IEP. If you miss it, you may have to pay more for your coverage (unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period ). Penalties for enrolling late can increase over time).
Find your personal Medicare Initial Enrollment Period dates.
Turning 65: Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
Your IEP begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday. It runs through your birthday month and for three more months after your birthday month. So your IEP lasts for a full seven months.
Your IEP begins a month earlier if your birthday is on the first day of the month. Their IEPs begin a month earlier than others born in the same month and year. If you were born on June 1, for example, then your IEP begins February 1 rather than March 1.
Here are a few more things you need to know:
- Even if you're already collecting Social Security, you must wait until you're 65 to enroll in Medicare.
- You yourself must be 65 to enroll in Medicare. Your spouse's age doesn't count.
- You may enroll in Medicare at age 65 even if you're not collecting Social Security yet.
Qualifying Disability: Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
If you are under age 65 with a qualifying disability , then you are eligible for Medicare on the first day of the 25th month of receiving disability benefits. Your IEP begins three months before this month and lasts for a full seven months.
People who have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease can get Medicare the first month that they receive Social Security disability benefits. For rail workers, it’s the first month that they receive a railroad disability annuity check.
Eligibility for people with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is based on the need for dialysis. Medicare coverage usually begins the first day of the fourth month of dialysis treatments.
What you can do during your Initial Enrollment Period?
- Enroll in Part A, Part B or both.
- Choose how to get your coverage: Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. You must be enrolled in both Parts A and B to join a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with or without built-in prescription drug coverage (Part D).
- You can enroll in a standalone prescription drug plan if you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn't include drug coverage. Only certain Medicare Advantage plans allow you to have a standalone prescription drug plan as well.
What do you want to do next?
Or prepare for initial enrollment