When Am I Eligible for Medicare?
Your Initial Enrollment period is when you first become eligible for Medicare. If you do not sign up for a particular Medicare Plan at this time, you may only be able to sign up for certain Medicare programs at certain times of the year.
If you want to add Part B coverage, and did not sign up when you were first eligible, you may do so during the General Enrollment Period from January 1st-March 31st of each year. Your coverage will begin July 1st. If you delayed signing up for Part B because you were still working and had healthcare through your employer, you may sign up without a late penalty during a Special Enrollment Period while you are working or during the eight months after your employment ends or the employer healthcare ends, whichever is first.
While you are able to buy Medigap policies at other times, you have a Medigap open enrollment period of six months from the day you are both 65 and older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Your open enrollment period is the best time to purchase Medigap coverage.
Medicare Part D prescription drug plans* are available when you first become eligible for Medicare. Otherwise, you will have to sign up between November 15th-December 31st of each year. If you do not sign up when you are first eligible and go more than 63 days without creditable drug coverage (for example, from your employer health plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan) you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
You may sign up for Medicare Advantage Plans when you first become eligible for Medicare, or from November 15th-December 1st each year. You may also sign up from January 1st-March 31st of each year, but you may add or change prescription drug coverage unless you already have Medicare drug coverage.
* You may be able to get extra help to pay for your prescription drug premiums and costs. To see if you qualify for getting extra help, call:
1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY/TDD users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/7 days a week;
The Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY/TDD users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or Your State Medicaid Office