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Medicare Enrollment dates to know

By May 7, 2022Insurance

How Do You enroll in Medicare? 

As an independent agent, we are working with lots of plans to help meet your needs. Medicare is the one program that you need to enroll in yourself. Often when we first meet with people, we send them to enroll in Medicare for the first time.

If you haven’t received benefits for at least four months from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board by the time you turn 65:

You need to sign up for Part A and/or Part B.

Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT, Monday-Friday (TTY: 1-800-325-0778).

Or visit to apply online.

If you worked for a railroad, call 1-877-772-5772 to learn more about signing up.

If you have received benefits for at least four months from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board by the time you turn 65:

You’ll automatically be enrolled in Part A and Part B. Medicare will send you a card before you turn 65 with information on how to drop Part B if you want to.

When Am I eligible for Medicare? 

When you turn 65, you, like most people, become eligible for Medicare. You don’t have to be retired or collecting Social Security to be eligible. However, it is essential not to confuse your Medicare benefits with Your Social Security benefits. Some people who continue to work past age 65 may opt to delay their Medicare Eligibility. You may also be eligible before 65 if you’re permanently disabled or diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Medicare eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizen or legal resident for five consecutive years
  • Age 65 years or older
  • If under age 65: permanently disabled and have received Social Security disability payments for at least two years
  • Receive, or are eligible for, retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board
  • Had Medicare-covered government employment (you or your spouse)
  • Need ongoing dialysis for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or need a kidney transplant

Enrollment Periods

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

Understanding when you can enroll in a Medicare plan is not a simple task. When you are considering your options for Medicare, don’t hesitate to speak with a member of our staff to help you understand when you will be eligible and what plans will work well in your area. 

If you’re turning 65 soon, you can sign up during your IEP, which lasts for seven months. That seven-month time frame includes:

  • The three months before you turn 65
  • The month you turn 65
  • The three months after you turn 65

During the IEP, you can sign up for any of the following:

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital coverage)
  • Medicare Part B (Medical coverage)
  • Medicare Part C (private Medicare Advantage plans)
  • Medicare Part D (private prescription drug plans)

Sign up at least one month before your birthday month if you want to be covered by Medicare during the month you turn 65.

If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B or Part D during IEP, you may have to pay more to enroll later. These penalties are separate from your premiums and can become substantial if left unchecked. If you have questions, call us today! 

Annual Enrollment Periods

Every year your plan changes, and if you are like the rest of our clients, your needs will change every year. An Annual enrollment period is used to make changes on an annual basis to your plan. If we need to upgrade your plan or maybe change to a new Company, we use this period to make annual changes to your plan. During this period, We will help you understand your plan, and we will help you plan for next year.

Annual Election Period (AEP): October 15 to December 7

Any Change you make during this time will go into effect on January 1. During AEP, you can choose to enroll, disenroll, or change your plan choices. Here are some examples:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice-versa
  • Switch from a Cost plan with Part D to another Cost plan with Part D or an alternative private plan like Medicare Advantage
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan or a Cost plan
  • Switch from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another Medicare prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan or Cost plan with Part D

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: January 1 to March 31

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have a one-time chance to:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)
  • Sign up for a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (if you return to your Original Medicare)

Special Enrollment Periods (SEP)

An SEP lets you make coverage changes that you usually can only make during your IEP or AEP. There are many types of events that can trigger an SEP:

  • You move outside your plan’s service area.
  • You’re eligible for Medicaid.
  • You qualify for extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs.
  • You want to switch to a plan with a five-star overall quality rating.
  • Your current plan’s government contract ends, or the plan goes out of business.
  • You lose prescription drug coverage from an employer or union, or your drug coverage is no longer as good as the standard Part D benefit.