when to sign up for medicare

Medicare: When to Sign Up

When to Sign Up for Medicare

To get the most out of your Medicare and avoid late enrollment penalties, you need to know when to sign up for Medicare or join a Medicare plan. 

Speak with a licensed independent Medicare enrollment agent today (912) 660-5236.

Knowing When to Sign Up For Medicare

Consider this: Understanding Medicare enrollment could determine your health for years to come and save you hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. Below is a breakdown of the best times to enroll based on your situation:

Initial Medicare Enrollment Period: 

  • Most people get Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) during this period. It starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after you turn 65. If you’re not already collecting Social Security benefits before your Initial Enrollment Period starts, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare.
  • To get the most from your Medicare and avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty, complete your Medicare enrollment application during your Initial Enrollment Period. This lifetime penalty gets added to your monthly Part B premium, and it goes up the longer you wait to sign up. 

Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7):

  • From October 15 – December 7 each year, you can join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare drug plan, switch plans, or drop a plan. If you make a change, your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year.

General Medicare Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31)

  • If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up during Medicare’s General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31), and your coverage will start July 1.

Special Enrollment Period: 

  • Once your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you may have the chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You can sign up for Part A and/or Part B during an SEP under special circumstances.

When to join a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

The best time to join a Medicare health or drug plan is when you first get Medicare. Signing up when you’re first eligible can help you avoid paying a lifetime Part D late enrollment penalty. If you miss your first chance, generally, you have to wait until fall for Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15–December 7) to join a plan. During this time each year, you can also drop or switch your plan coverage.

Get in Touch With an Independent Medicare Insurance Agent

It’s important to understand when you can enroll in Medicare and be confident in your choices. Contact me for more about signing up for Medicare today!