There are several ways that you can enroll in Medicare, but the most common ways to enroll is if you are:
- 65 or older
- Younger than 65 with a disability
- Diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease
When To Enroll In Medicare
Becoming eligible for Medicare means you will be granted a seven-month period to sign up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B (this is known as the initial enrollment period). This period will begin three months before you turn 65 and will end three months after.
As an example, if you turn 65 in April, your IEP will be from January through July. It’s best to enroll as early as possible, though. If you wait until the month you turn 65 or after, your Medicare Part B coverage will be delayed, which could cause a gap in your coverage.
Who Gets Automatically Enrolled In Medicare?
Some will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. You’ll be automatically enrolled if you are already getting Social Security benefits or benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board or if you have Lou Gehrig’s disease (also called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS).
I Missed My Initial Enrollment Period. What Now?
There are two other times you can enroll in Medicare outside of your initial enrollment period: during the annual general enrollment period and during special enrollment periods.
General enrollment in Medicare takes place every year between January 1st and March 31st. You can sign up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B during general enrollment once your initial enrollment period ends, and your coverage will start July 1st. You may have to pay higher premiums for late enrollment in Part A and/or Part B, so it’s best to sign up during your initial enrollment period if possible.
You may also be able to sign up for Medicare during a special enrollment period once your initial enrollment period ends. Suppose you get healthcare coverage under a group health plan based on current employment. In that case, you can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B during a special enrollment period with no late penalties as long as you or your spouse are working.