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When Can I Enroll In Medicare?

Enrollment in Medicare is broken down into individual Parts.  It may be automatic, or require you to proactively enroll, depending on your situation.  

Enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B

If you are getting Social Security Benefits at least 4 months before 65th birthday, you will be automatically signed up once you turn 65.  

If you won’t be getting Social Security Benefits at least 4 months before 65th birthday, you can apply online at Social Security, or contact your local Social Security office during a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins 3 months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after you turn 65*. 

If you are under 65 and have a disability, you will be automatically signed up after you have been receiving Disability Benefits from Social Security for 24 months.

If you have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease), you will be automatically signed up the month your disability benefits begin.

If you have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), enrolling in Medicare is your choice. However, if you do choose to enroll, you’ll need both Parts A and B to get the full benefits available.  You can apply online at Social Security, or contact your local Social Security office, upon your diagnosis.   

Enrollment in Medicare Part B typically takes place during the General Enrollment Period (January 31-March 31).

Enrolling In Medicare Parts C & D

Enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C), as well as Medicare Part D, is not automatic.  To enroll, you must find and join a Medicare plan that offers prescription drug coverage.  

If you are newly eligible because you are turning 65, and: 

You join:
3 months before 65th birthday
You will start:
The 1st of your 65th birthday month

If you are newly eligible because you have a disability, you may sign up during a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins 3 months before your 25th month of SSDI, includes your 25th month of SSDI, and ends 3 months after your 25th month of SSDI.  

If you don’t have Medicare Part A, and Enrolled in Part B during the General Enrollment period, you can enroll in Part C during General Enrollment from October 15-December 7, and 

Part D during General Enrollment from April 1-June 30. 

If you do have Medicare Part A, and Enrolled in Part B during the General Enrollment period, you can enroll in Part C during General Enrollment from October 15-December 7, and 

Part D during General Enrollment from April 1-June 30.  

Once you choose a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare drug plan, you can Enroll on the Medicare Plan Finder, or on the plan’s website, complete a paper enrollment form, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Shop Medicare Plans in Your Area
Disclaimers: Outside of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, members can enroll in a plan only if they meet certain criteria. A licensed insurance agent can help you determine whether you are eligible. Plan availability varies by region and state. Callers will be directed to a licensed insurance agent with a third-party partner of MedicareGap.org who can provide more information about Medicare Advantage plans offered by one or several Medicare-contracted carrier(s). Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information contained in this advertisement. Not connected with, or endorsed by, the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. This information is not a complete description of benefits. For a complete listing of Medicare plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or consult www.medicare.gov.