Initial Medicare Enrollment Period
Turning 65? When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and Part B.
You become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that:
If you aren’t automatically enrolled, you will need to sign up for Part A and Part B any time during your Initial Enrollment Period. Your coverage start date will depend on your birth month and when you sign up. It’s a good idea to sign up as soon as possible to avoid delays in your coverage start date. You can enroll online by going to https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/ .
If you wait until the month you turn 65 (or the 3 months after you turn 65) to enroll, your Part B coverage will be delayed. This could cause a gap in your coverage.
In some cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period happens once every year October 15th to December 7th for individuals 65 years of age or older. It is that time of year when you have the opportunity to change your Medicare coverage by joining a Medicare Advantage plan or switching back to Original Medicare. Whether you would like to switch from an Original Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa, there are a variety of different options to choose from during the Annual Enrollment. If you are in Original Medicare and have a Medigap plan (also known as Medicare Supplement plan) you can switch between Medigap plans any time of the year as long as you can pass underwriting.