Enrolling in Medicare

When to Enroll?

Initial Enrollment Period

When you first enroll in Medicare and during certain periods of the year, you can choose how you get your Medicare coverage. If you’re not automatically enrolled in premium-free Medicare Part A, you can sign up for Part A once your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) starts. Your Part A coverage will start 6 months before the month you apply for Medicare (or Social Security/RRB benefits), but no earlier than the first month you turn 65. However, you can only sign up for Medicare Part B (or Part A if you have to buy it) during the time period illustrated. Remember, in most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part A (if you have to buy it) and Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Special Enrollment Period

After your Initial Enrollment Period is over, you may have a chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period. If you didn’t sign up for Medicare Part B (or Medicare Part A if you have to buy it) when you were first eligible because you’re covered under a group health plan based on current employment (your own, a spouse’s, or a family member’s (if you have a disability)), you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B:

  • Anytime you’re still covered by the group health plan
  • During the 8-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first

Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a Special Enrollment Period. This Special Enrollment Period doesn’t apply to people who are eligible for Medicare based on End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). It also doesn’t apply if you’re still in your Initial Enrollment Period. Note: If you have a disability, and the group health plan coverage is based on the current employment of a family member (other than a spouse), the employer offering the group health plan must have 100 or more employees for you to get a Special Enrollment Period.

General Enrollment Period

If you didn’t sign up for Medicare Part A (if you have to buy it) and/or Medicare Part B (for which you must pay premiums) during your Initial Enrollment Period, and you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can sign up between January 1–March 31 each year. If you signed up for Medicare the month you turned 65, or during the last 3 months of an IEP, or during GEP, the coverage starts the first day of the month after sign up, and you may have to pay a higher Part A and/or Part B premium for late enrollment.

How to Enroll in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B

Once enrolled in Part A and/or Part B, You can contact us to compare your health plan options – call the Helpline toll-free at 866-391-7763 to speak to a licensed insurance agent who is specially trained to help you understand your Medicare options, or request assistance here: medicarecompareusa.com/speak-with-an-agent

By Phone

Call the Social Security Administration office at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can call TTY 1-800-325-0778.

In Person

Visit your local Social Security office. (Call first to make an appointment at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.)