When to Start Medicare – Important Timelines

Medicare, a government health insurance period, insures millions of Americans over the age of 65 & those under 65 who have specified impairments. Medicare coverage is a valuable perk, but it’s crucial to know when to enroll in order to exploit the benefits and minimize the drawbacks.

Initial Enrollment Period

The first time you may enroll in Medicare is during the initial enrollment term. There is seven months total, starting three months before the month in which you become 65 and ending three months after the month in which you reach that milestone age. To avoid late enrollment fines and to have coverage begin on your birthday, it’s crucial that you enroll within this window.


Special Enrollment Period

You might be able to join at a later date if you missed the original window of opportunity. Those who are covered by an employer or other group plan are eligible to enroll in Medicare during this time before their coverage terminates under that plan. Eight months following the conclusion of the previous coverage is the duration of the special enrollment term.

General Enrollment Period

If you missed your chance to sign up for Medicare during your first enrollment time and don’t have a special enrollment term, you may do so during the regular enrollment period. Coverage will commence on July 1 after a period that extends from January 1 to March 31. Late enrollment penalties may apply even if you enroll within the normal enrollment period.

Open Enrollment

Those who are currently enrolled in Medicare but would want to adjust their coverage may do so during the open enrollment period. The dates for this time frame are consistently October 15 to December 7. The enrollment period allows Medicare recipients to change from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa. Consumers have the option of modifying their existing health insurance plan by adding or removing coverage for prescription drugs.

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