Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
Retiring at age 65
If you plan to retire at 65, your initial Medicare enrollment window is a 7-month period (usually around your 65th birthday) that includes:
- 3 months before you're first eligible for Medicare coverage
- the month you start to qualify for Medicare coverage
- 3 months after you start to qualify for Medicare coverage
Retiring after 65
If you plan to retire after 65, you can enroll in Part A and/or Part B during the 8-month period that begins the month after the employer or union group health plan coverage ends, or when the employment ends (which ever is first).
Open Enrollment Period
Varies by organization
Open Enrollment is when you're able to switch your current Medicare coverage to a different Medicare health plan offered by your employer, trust fund, or union. This period can vary by organization. So, be sure to check with your employer, union, or trust fund for your specific dates.
Special Enrollment Periods
Medicare health plans for Group Members
There are unique circumstances that allow you to sign up for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Cost Plan—both with prescription drug coverage—or for a Medicare Part D plan (prescription drug coverage only).
You may qualify if any of the following applies to you:
- You were enrolled in another organization's plan, but recently moved into a different service area.
- Recently left an employer Group health plan.
- You recently lost creditable prescription drug coverage.
- You currently live in or recently left a nursing home.
Other events may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. For more information, call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (toll-free) or 1-877-486-2048 (toll-free TTY for the hearing/speech impaired), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
General Enrollment Period
Jan. 1—March 31
If you didn't sign up for Part A and/or Part B when you were first eligible, you can try again during the General Enrollment Period each year. Your coverage will begin July 1, but you may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment.