When can I enroll?

You can enroll in Medicare Insurance plan only during specific election periods.


Initial Election Period – If you are turning 65, you can enroll in Medicare anytime during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Note:  if you apply for Mediare at anytime during the 3 months after the month you turn 65, your Medicare will be delayed, as much as up to 3 months.  Therefore it is important to apply for Medicare when you are initially able to do so to avoid the delay in coverage.

If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits and are eligible to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled into Medicare Part A & Part B and will receive you red, white and blue Medicare card in the mail about three months before the month you turn 65.

If you do not wish to go on Medicare at that time, just return the response card Social Security provides you to decline enrollment and your Part B enrollment will be cancelled. Your Part A enrollment will still become active on the first day of your birth month, however. There would be no premium for you to pay for Part A. You will then get a new Medicare card that reads “Part A Only.”


Special Election Periods – Medicare also allows enrollments at other times during the year under specific circumstances.

For example, if you are currently covered under your or your spouse’s employer or union’s medical insurance plan, you can delay enrollment in Medicare Part A & Part B until the month when that coverage ends or anytime up to 8 months after the coverage ends.


Open Enrollment Period – During this period, which runs from January through March of each year, a person who is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan has a one time chance to change their plan to either a different Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare.  This opportunity does not apply to Prescription Drug plans.


General Election Period – If you do not enroll in Medicare during your initial election period or a special election period, you can enroll during the General Election Period, which runs from January through March; however, you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty.  Your Medicare will begin on the following July 1.


Annual Election Period – Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drugs plans change each year. You have the opportunity to enroll in or change your Medicare Advantage plan or Prescription Drug plan during the annual election period, which runs from October 15 through December 7 of each year. Any change would become effective January 1 of the following year.


5 Stars – You can change from your current plan to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan that has a 5 star rating at any time during the year.