When Can I Sign Up For Medicare?

Panda fills out Medicare paperworkSo, you may be about to turn 65, or you recently did, and you’re wondering if you can sign up for Medicare or not.

Well, let me just welcome you to the weird and wild world of Medicare Enrollment Periods! And Special Enrollment Periods! 

Just like everything in Medicare, they’re complex, and the rules can seem completely arbitrary, but these are important facts you need to understand to navigate Medicare and make sure you’re covered.

But the simple answer to when you can enroll in medicare is during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) to sign up for Medicare
Initial Enrollment Period IEP

Your initial enrollment period begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. 

For example, if you were born in July, your IEP is April 1st to October 31st. And lucky you, it starts on April Fool’s. But don’t worry, the government has no sense of humor, so it doesn’t matter.

During IEP, you can sign up for:

  • Part A (Hospital)
  • Part B (Medical)
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage)
  • Part D (Prescription Drugs)

When can I enroll in Parts F-N (Medicare Supplements)?

MedSupps are a little bit different. The enrollment period begins the 1st of your birthday month, and lasts for a total of six months.

MedSupp Enrollment to sign up for Medicare
MedSupp Enrollment

When can I change my Medicare plans?

After your initial enrollment periods, things are a bit different. There are annual periods like AEP and OEP where you can change your plan or enroll in a different kind of plan, and there are Special Enrollment Periods where certain circumstances enable you to enroll or change earlier.