It’s important for you to know when to sign up for Medicare or when to join a Medicare plan. Remember these times so you get the most out of your Medicare and avoid late enrollment penalties:
Initial Medicare Enrollment Period: Most people get Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) during this period. It starts 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after you turn 65. If you’re not already collecting Social Security benefits before your Initial Enrollment Period starts, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare online or contact Social Security.
To get the most from your Medicare and avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty, complete your Medicare enrollment application during your Initial Enrollment Period. This lifetime penalty gets added to your monthly Part B premium, and it goes up the longer you wait to sign up. Find out if you should get Part B based on your situation.
General Medicare Enrollment Period: If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up during Medicare’s General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31), and your coverage will start July 1.
Special Enrollment Period: Once your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you may have the chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You can sign up for Part A and or Part B during an SEP if you have special circumstances.
When to join a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
The best time to join a Medicare health or drug plan is when you first get Medicare. Signing up when you’re first eligible can help you avoid paying a lifetime Part D late enrollment penalty. If you miss your first chance, generally you have to wait until fall for Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15–December 7) to join a plan. During this time each year, you can also drop or switch your plan coverage.
It’s important to understand when you can enroll in Medicare and be confident in your choices. Learn more about signing up for Medicare today!