In Blog

Medicare FAQ #2 

When Can I Enroll in Medicare? 


Before we get into when a person can enroll into Medicare, it is important to understand the eligibility requirements first.  

Who is Eligible? 

The most common group of people eligible for Medicare are people 65 years or older who are US citizens, or permanent US residents who have lived in the US for the past 5 years. There are a few circumstances that would provide eligibility for people under the age of 65 and those include: 

  • People with End Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplant),  
  • People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and  
  • People with disabilities (after 24 months of receiving Social Security disability income).  

When should I enroll? 

If you start drawing Social Security Income before you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled into Medicare Part B when you turn 65. Otherwise, you have a 7-month window in which to enroll around your 65th birthday. This is referred to as your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).  IEP begins 3 months prior to your birth month, includes your birth month, and the 3 months after your birth month.  

Should you miss this enrollment window, you may enroll during the general enrollment period which runs from January 1 through March 31. Your effective date would be the first day of the month following your enrollment.  Note that if you miss your IEP, you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty.   

Today we see many people choosing to work past their 65th birthday, and if that is the case, you can defer enrollment as long as you are covered by a credible employer plan.  In this case, you would then have an 8-month window to enroll that begins once you lose your employer coverage.   In this situation however, it is important to verify with your employer as they may require you to join a Medicare related plan once you turn 65.  

Enrolling in Medicare can seem overwhelming at first, but if you have questions on how or when you should enroll, seek help from a local and independent Medicare insurance agent. Be sure to work with someone who has your best interest in mind and will guide you to the plan options that will best fit your specific needs. A local Medicare Insurance agent can make sure you are set up for success! VibrantUSA agents are available to help with any Medicare related questions at 866-733-5111. 

Recommended Posts