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Medicare Enrollment

Understanding MedicareMedicare Enrollment

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You can get Medicare medical and prescription drug coverage, or switch your plan, during designated enrollment periods.


Initial Enrollment Period

The Initial Enrollment Period is when you’re first eligible to enroll in Medicare.

If you’re eligible because you’re turning 65…

Your Medicare eligibility month is the month of your 65th birthday. Your Initial Enrollment Period is a total of 7 months. It starts 3 months before your Medicare eligibility month and ends 3 months after your eligibility month.

If you’re eligible because of a disability…

Your Medicare eligibility month is the 25th month you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

General Enrollment Period

If you didn’t enroll for Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period is from January 1 to March 31. Medicare Part B starts July 1 after you sign up.

Open/Annual Enrollment Period

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.

Special Enrollment Period

Special circumstances allow you to make changes to your Medicare plan. You can make changes during a Special Enrollment Period. Your Special Enrollment Period will depend on your circumstance.


Special circumstances include:

  • Moving or changing where you live
  • You get the option to choose different coverage
  • Your plan changes its Medicare contract
  • You become eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid

For more information about Special Enrollment Periods, visit medicare.gov.