When You Turn 65

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period Computer Image

Back when 30 seemed old you may not have believed this day would come—the day you become eligible for Medicare. Welcome!

Turning 65 is a big life event, and thousands of baby boomers are doing it every day.*Here’s what you need to know right off the bat:

  • You must be 65 to enroll in Medicare—your spouse’s age doesn’t count.
  • You may enroll in Medicare even if you’re not collecting Social Security yet.
  • You may enroll in Medicare even if you work past age 65 and have employer coverage, or you are 65 and have coverage through your spouse’s employer.

When to Enroll in Medicare

Your first chance to sign up for Medicare is called your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). It happens around your 65th birthday and lasts a total of 7 months. It includes your birthday month plus the 3 months before and the 3 months after. It’s best to sign up early to avoid gaps in coverage and late enrollment penalties.

The month you turn 65

You may be enrolled in Medicare automatically if you currently receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. You’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail a few months before your 65th birthday. You still have an IEP during which you may make Medicare coverage decisions.

Words With Peter: Medicare Initial Enrollment Period

What is the “Medicare Initial Enrollment Period,” or “IEP”? When is it, and what happens if you miss it? Learn about it in this video

If you miss your IEP, all is not lost.

You can sign up later, but you could face some penalties if you wait too long.

learn more

Get Your Medicare Enrollment Dates

This simple tool will give you your IEP dates. Just enter your birthday or select the tab that matches your situation.

Enter your date of birth
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

Please enter a valid date.


Initial Enrollment Period: Turning 65 on

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Enter your retirement date or the date you're losing your employer coverage (whichever happens first).
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

Please enter a valid date.


Special Enrollment for Parts A and B: Retiring or losing coverage in .

ENROLLMENT PERIOD

RETIREMENT DATE (OR DATE YOUR COVERAGE ENDS)

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Qualifying Disability
Check the box if you have the following:

Check the box if you have the following:
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

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Enter date you began receiving disability benefits.
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

Enter date you began receiving disability benefits.
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

Please check a box or enter a valid date

Initial Enrollment Period: Began receiving disability benefits in .

Enrollment period

25th month of receiving disability benefits

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Medicare Coverage and ALS

You are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B the month your Social Security disability benefits begin when you have ALS. It’s a good idea to apply for these benefits as soon as you are diagnosed, since there may be a waiting period before they kick in.

Even though you are enrolled in Original Medicare automatically, you may still make other Medicare coverage choices, such as adding Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Coverage and ESRD

You may get Medicare benefits at any age if you have ESRD and one of the following applies:

  • You are eligible for Medicare based on your work record.
  • You are already getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or you are eligible for benefits.
  • Your spouse or parent meets one of the above requirements.

Medicare coverage starts the fourth month you receive dialysis treatments. For example, your Medicare coverage would start on October 1 if you start getting your dialysis treatments in July.

Medicare coverage could start the first month you receive treatments if all of these apply:

  • You attend a home dialysis training program provided by a Medicare-certified training facility.
  • Your doctor expects you to complete the training and be able to do your own dialysis treatments.
  • You maintain regular dialysis treatments throughout the usual required waiting period.

You must enroll in Original Medicare Parts A and B yourself. Once you have both Part A and Part B, you may make other Medicare coverage choices, such as adding Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you are 65 or older, or disabled, and are already enrolled in Part A, you may enroll in Part B without penalty if you are approved for Medicare based on ESRD. You may also have an existing Part B late enrollment penalty removed.

Were you born on the first of the month?

Your IEP begins and ends a month earlier if your birthday is on the first day of the month. If you were born on June 1, for example, then your IEP is February 1 – August 31.

How to Use Your Initial Enrollment Period

You have a lot of choices when it comes to Medicare. Your IEP is the time to make decisions about the kind of coverage you need.  You may:

  • Enroll in Part A, Part B or both.
  • Make other coverage choices if you enroll in both Parts A and B.

You must notify Medicare if you were enrolled in Part B automatically and choose to delay or refuse it. Follow the directions on the back of your Medicare card. Note that you could be charged a Part B premium penalty if you decide to enroll in Part B later, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

You know when, now learn how to enroll in Medicare.

You may have to enroll yourself. Even if you were automatically enrolled and received a Medicare card, you still may need to take action to get the coverage you want.

Learn more
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Turning 65?

Now’s the time to prepare for your initial enrollment in Medicare.  See UnitedHealthcare plans in your area at UHCMedicareSolutions.com or call UnitedHealthcare 7 days a week from 8a.m.- 8p.m. local time at 1-866-584-6886 TTY:711.

*Cohn, D. and Taylor, P. (2010, December 20). Baby boomers approach 65 - glimly. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/12/20/baby-boomers-approach-65-glumly/