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Medicare Enrollment Periods

When can I sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B?

If you are already receiving benefits from the Social Security administration or Railroad Retirement Board at the time you become eligible for Medicare, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. If you don’t yet receive benefits or if you decline Medicare Parts A or B, the times when you can enroll are:


You can enroll in Medicare at any time during your seven-month Initial Period (IEP), which includes

the three months before, the month of, and the three months following you 65th birthday month. The date when your Medicare begins depends on when you sign up. If you want to have Medicare Parts A and B the month that you turn 65, you should enroll during the first three months of your IEP. Note that if your birthday falls on the first of the month, your IEP will be the seven months surrounding the month prior to the month of your birth.


If you declined Medicare Part B or delayed enrolling in it because you were covered by insurance

through the current employment of yourself or your spouse, you may be able to use the Part B Special Enrollment Period (SEP). To use the Part B SEP, you must meet two criteria: (1) You

must have insurance from current work (from your job or your spouse’s job, or, in some cases, certain family member’s job) or have had such insurance within the past eight months. (2) You must have been continuously covered by job-based insurance or Medicare Part B since becoming eligible for Medicare, including the first month you became eligible for Medicare. If you use the SEP, your coverage will usually become effective the month following the month when you enroll.


If you missed enrollment in Medicare during your IEP and you cannot use the SEP to enroll, you likely

need to enroll using the General Enrollment Period (GEP). The GEP takes place January 1

through March 31 of each year. During this period, you can enroll in Medicare Part B. Enrolling during the GEP means that your coverage will start on July 1. Until that time, you will ;not be covered by Medicare. Enrolling in Medicare during the GEP often means that you will have to pay a Part B premium penalty of 10% of the Part B premium for every 12-month period you delayed enrollment in Medicare.


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