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General Enrollment Period

General Enrollment Period


If you did not sign up for Part A (even if you have to buy it) and/or 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.


Your coverage won’t start until July 1 of that year, and you may have to pay a higher Part A and/or Part B premium for late enrollment.


When you're first eligible for Medicare


You have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B.  For example, if you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7 month period that


  • Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

If you aren’t automatically enrolled, you can sign up for free Part A (if you have worked and paid into Medicare through payroll deductions for 10 years or 40 quarters) any time during or after your Initial Enrollment Period starts.  Your coverage start date will depend on when you sign up.  If you have to buy Part A and/or Part B, you can only sign up during a valid enrollment period.


If you wait until the month you turn 65 (or the 3 months after your turn 65) to enroll, your Part B coverage will begin the 1st day of the next month.


Find out when you're eligible for Medicare.


If you don’t have Medicare or you want to sign up for Part A (some people have to pay a premium for Part A) or to sign up for Part B, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.  TTY users should call 1-800-772-5772.


Once your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you may have the chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you're covered under a group health plan based on current employment, you have a SEP to sign up for Part A and/or Part B anytime as long as:


  • You or your spouse (or family member if you're disabled) are working.
  • You're covered by a group health plan through the employer or union based on that work.

You also have an 8-month SEP to sign up for Part A and/or Part B that starts at one of these times (whichever happens first):


  • The month after the employment ends (whether voluntary or involuntary)
  • The month after group health plan insurance based on current employment ends

You don't pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a Special Election Period


Cobra and retiree health plans are not considered coverage based on current employment.  You are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when that coverage ends.  This Special Enrollment Period also doesn’t apply to people who are eligible for Medicare based on having End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).


If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) based on your or your spouse’s current employment, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. 


Learn more if you’re signing up for Medicare based on the work record of a same-sex spouse.


By contacting the phone number on this website you will be directed to a licensed agent.