Medicare Enrollment: When Can I Enroll? | Medicare Made Clear

Enrollment Time Periods

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Medicare has specific enrollment periods when you can sign up. Each has a particular purpose. Most people sign up during their Initial Enrollment Period, but it’s good to know about all the time periods and what they’re for.

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Do you have questions about Medicare? Knowing when you’re due, what you need and where to go for help may support you in making Medicare choices.

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

This is when you’re first eligible to enroll in Medicare. Your IEP is 7 months long and happens around your 65th birthday or the 25th month of receiving Social Security disability benefits. It’s important to take action during your IEP. You’ll have some decisions to make, even if you have other insurance.

Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP)

The General Enrollment Period (GEP) is like make-up time. It’s when you can enroll in Medicare if you didn’t sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period. The GEP is January 1 - March 31 every year. You may have to pay a penalty for late enrollment. Coverage takes effect on July 1.

Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

A Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP) allows you to enroll in Medicare or change your Medicare coverage outside of standard enrollment periods without penalty. There are different SEPs that apply in specific circumstances, and each has its own rules about timing.

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment 

Medicare supplement insurance may be added to Original Medicare at any time after you’re  enrolled in both Part A and Part B, but you have “guaranteed issue rights” only at certain times. If you join at other times you may have to pay more and you could be denied coverage. Get more information about Medicare supplement insurance.

Already on Medicare? There are enrollment periods for you, too.

Once you’re enrolled, Medicare has specific enrollment periods for changing your coverage. The main one—Medicare Open Enrollment—happens every year from October 15 to December 7.

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People who work past age 65 may have options. 

What do you do about Medicare if you have employer insurance? It depends.

Learn More >

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