How to Enroll in Medicare

There are specific time periods to be aware of for your Medicare enrollment. Be sure to mark these dates on your calendar.


Original Medicare Enrollment

You can enroll in Medicare during a seven-month period around the time of your 65th birthday, known as your initial enrollment period. This period begins three months before your birth month, includes your birth month, and ends three months after.

See the example below of someone who turns 65 during the month of June.

June-Your 65th birthday month!

Normally, someone will enroll in Medicare Parts A and B at the same time but there are exceptions. For example, if someone continues to work past age 65 and is covered by a group health plan, they may want to delay enrolling in Part B.


Medicare Supplement Enrollment

If you decide to supplement your Original Medicare by enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan, you must first enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. You then have an open enrollment period that lasts six-months, during which you can purchase a Medicare Supplement plan.

During this six-month window, you don't have to answer any health questions – you're guaranteed to get the coverage you want. After the six-month window expires, you may have to answer health questions upon application and you will not be guaranteed to get the coverage.


Medicare Advantage Enrollment

If you decide to replace your Original Medicare benefits with Medicare Advantage to lower your out-of-pocket costs, you first have to be entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Part B.

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the seven-month period around the time of your 65th birthday.


Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment

If you've decided to add Prescription Drug Coverage to your Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement, then you first have to be qualified for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B.

You can enroll in a Medicare-approved Prescription Drug plan during the seven-month period around the time of your 65th birthday.


Late Enrollment Penalties

There can be late enrollment penalties for Medicare Parts A, B and D if you're eligible for those parts but do not enroll.

Understand more about when these penalties apply and how to avoid them at

Need help in making a decision on what
Medicare Supplement plan is right for you?

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