When you begin Medicare, whether at age 65 or after, it is vital to understand your enrollment opportunities. Some enrollment happens automatically, but some parts require action on your part. There are two enrollment timelines to know when beginning Medicare—Initial Enrollment Period and Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
Initial Enrollment Period
Beneficiaries can enroll in Medicare during the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period—which is the seven month period that starts three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65 and ends three months later. Most beneficiaries will automatically receive a Medicare card in the mail a few months before turning 65.
If you do not receive your Medicare card in the mail prior to turning 65 and end up enrolling during the three months after your birthday, your coverage may be delayed.
Example: You enroll the same month you turn 65. Your coverage won’t begin until one month after enrollment. This leaves you without coverage for one month.
If you aren’t automatically enrolled, you can sign up for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, by contacting Social Security. You can reach them at:
- 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM.
- Your local Social Security office
Medigap Open Enrollment Period
The Medigap Open Enrollment Period lets you elect supplemental coverage Original Medicare doesn’t include. It’s a six month period that begins the first month you are 65 and enrolled in Part B. Once this period starts, it cannot be delayed, replaced, or restarted. During this time, you are able to enroll in any Medicare Supplement insurance plan without going through underwriting or answering health questions.
If you want to switch your Medigap plan later on, you may be required to answer health questions in underwriting.
We understand that you may have questions about your specific situation, Medicare enrollment, or Medicare Supplement options. Our team is here to help.
Connect with a licensed agent in your area today to get answers to your questions and up-to-date plan options.