For most people, their Medicare enrollment process will begin three months before they turn 65, which marks the beginning of your Initial Enrollment Period.
Not only will this period begin three months before your 65th birthday month, but it will also end three months after you turn 65, lasting for a total of seven months. If you do not enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period. This starts every year from January 1 through March 31, but there is a catch with this period.
Initial Enrollment Period
If you sign up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B (Original Medicare) during the first three months of your Initial Enrollment Period, your coverage will start on the first day of your 65th birthday month. If your birthday falls on the first day of the month, your coverage will start the first day of the month before you turn 65.
Now, if you were to enroll during the exact month you turned 65, then your coverage would start a month after you enrolled.
If you enroll one month after turning 65, then your coverage begins two months later. Enrolling two or even three months after you turn 65 results in your coverage starting three months later.
General Enrollment Period
As mentioned previously, if you don’t enroll at all during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period starts on January 1 and ends on March 31.
While this is a great second chance for those who missed their enrollment, your coverage won’t unfortunately start until July 1. Not only this but signing up during this period can result in late enrollment penalties, which can last for as long as you have Medicare.