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When you can enroll

You'll have several chances to enroll in a Medicare plan. Each enrollment period has different rules, as you'll see below. If you're eligible through your employer or a group health plan, be sure to review the information they provide you to explore your available options.

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Initial enrollment period

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Initial enrollment period

The initial enrollment period is the first time you're eligible for Medicare. You can sign up for Part A and/or Part B then.

 

You have a 7-month period to enroll. It centers on your 65th birthday. It includes:

 

  • The three months before your birthday month
  • Your birthday month
  • The three months after your birthday month

If you were born on the first day of the month, Medicare uses the previous month as your birthday month.

 

For example, if your birthday is August 1, your initial enrollment period is from April 1 to October 31. If your birthday is August 11, your initial enrollment period is from May 1 to November 30.

 

During your initial enrollment period, you can enroll in either:

 

  1. Part C (Medicare Advantage), with or without prescription drug coverage, once you have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B
  2. Part D (prescription drug coverage only) once you have Part A or Part B

Once you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B), see if Part C or Part D is right for you.

 

Visit Medicare's website to learn more about enrollment into Part A or Part B

 

Visit Social Security's website to learn about Medicare entitlement and eligibility

Annual open enrollment period: Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

Annual open enrollment period: Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

During this time period you can:

 

  • Join a new Medicare plan
  • Change your Medicare plan
  • Drop your Medicare plan and return to Original Medicare

If you change plans during this enrollment period, your new coverage begins January 1.

 

You don't need to re-enroll each year if your current Medicare plan meets your needs.

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Special enrollment period

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Special enrollment period

In certain situations, you may be able to join, switch, or drop a Medicare plan during a special enrollment period. Some examples are:

 

  • You move out of your plan’s service area
  • You have Medicaid
  • You qualify for Extra Help
  • You live in a long-term care facility (such as a nursing home)

There may be other times when you can enroll. See Medicare's website for more information.

 

See Medicare's full list of special situations

How to enroll

We help make the process simple. When you're ready, just click the button below to see how to pick a plan and enroll.

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Frequently asked questions

Get answers to common Medicare questions