Initial Enrollment Period
If you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 and are enrolling for the first time, you will have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) to sign up for Part A and/or Part B, often called Original Medicare.
You can also choose additional coverage at this time, like Part D. Your Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before your birth month, includes your birth month, and ends 3 months after your birth month. For example, if you were born in May, your IEP begins in February and ends in August.
Open Enrollment Period, Oct. 15 – Dec. 7
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP), often called open enrollment, takes place from October 15 – December 7 each year. All changes go into effect on January 1 of the upcoming year.
During this time, you can:
- Sign up for a new Medicare plan
- Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (MA)
- Add a Medicare Part D plan to your current Medicare coverage
- Add a Medicare supplement plan to your current Medicare coverage (not applicable for Medicare Advantage plans)
If you do not choose a new plan during open enrollment, your existing coverage will continue into the following year. If you did not have previous coverage, you could be subject to a surcharge and pre-existing conditions may not be covered by your provider in the future, so it’s important to start planning before you turn 65.
Special Enrollment Periods
You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) when certain events happen in your life, like if you move to a different coverage area or you lose other insurance coverage. These are called Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). For more details on SEPs visit Medicare.gov.