Medicare Timelines

When Can I Enroll in Medicare?

Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. This is the called the Initial Enrollment Period. This is a 7-month period starting 3 months prior to the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and 3 months after you turn 65.

For example, if your birthday is in May, your Initial Enrollment Period begins February 1 and lasts through the end of August. 


Working past age 65?

Typically, if your job is providing health insurance, you don’t have to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65. There are special occasions when you may still need to enroll in Medicare while working, check with your company.

When you stop working, or your company stops providing health insurance, you can enroll in Medicare Part B during an 8-month Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you do not enroll in Medicare Part B during this time, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.


Medicare Advantage Enrollment Timelines:

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during certain times of the year.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
October 15 – December 7
During this time, you can enroll, disenroll, or switch your Medicare coverage. Enrollments completed during this period will become effective January 1st of the following year.
Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
January 1 – March 31
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as of January 1st, you can make a one-time change to enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare and pick up a Prescription Drug Plan.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
April 1 – October 14
December 8 – December 31
Also known as the “lock-in” period. This is the time outside of AEP or OEP, where changes can only be made if you are eligible for a special election. Common special elections include:
• Moving into a plan’s service area
• Leaving employer coverage
• Having Medicaid or Extra Help
• Enrolled in the State Prescription Drug Assistance Program