How to Enroll in Medicare if You Are Turning 65

By Brian Krantz - February 28, 2023

If you are turning 65 and not receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, it’s essential to know the different time periods when you can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. In this article, we will discuss these enrollment periods and how to enroll in Medicare without facing any penalties or gaps in coverage.

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a seven-month period, including the three months before, the month of, and the three months following your 65th birthday. During this time, you can enroll in Medicare at any time, and the start of your Medicare coverage depends on when you sign up.

If you enroll in the first three months of your IEP, your coverage begins the month you become eligible for Medicare. If you enroll during the fourth through seventh months of your IEP, your coverage begins the month following the month of enrollment.

For example, suppose you turn 65 in June. In that case, you can enroll in Medicare anytime from March to September, as shown in the following chart.

If your birthday falls on the first of the month, your IEP is the seven months surrounding the month before the month of your birth. For instance, if you turn 65 on June 1, your IEP runs from February 1 to August 31.

Part B Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for job-based insurance

The Part B Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for job-based insurance is available to people who are eligible for Medicare but were covered by job-based insurance when they first became eligible for Medicare. You can delay enrollment in Part B without penalty for up to eight months after losing your group health coverage or stopping work, whichever comes first.

If you retire and sign up for Medicare in February, your coverage will begin March 1. To avoid gaps in coverage, enroll in Medicare the month before your job-based insurance ends.

General Enrollment Period (GEP)

Suppose you didn’t enroll in Medicare during your IEP or an SEP. In that case, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period (GEP), which takes place from January 1 through March 31 each year. However, if you sign up during the GEP,  you may incur a Part B late enrollment penalty and face gaps in coverage.

Enrolling in Medicare can be complicated, but understanding the different enrollment periods can help you enroll without facing any penalties or gaps in coverage. Whether you’re enrolling during your Initial Enrollment Period, a Special Enrollment Period, or the General Enrollment Period, it’s essential to make informed decisions and understand how Medicare enrollment affects your healthcare coverage. Remember, the local New York Medicare advisors at Plan Medicare area available to help you navigate all of your Medicare questions. Give us a call 516-900-7877. 

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