When do I enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B)?

In One Sentence

Those eligible for Medicare can enroll in Parts A and B during their Initial Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period, or a Special Enrollment Period.  

The Basics

When those eligible for Medicare are already drawing Social Security benefits, the government automatically enrolls them into Medicare Parts A and B about three months before they turn 65. These enrollees can opt out of Part B if they don’t want to keep it. Those who don’t receive Social Security must sign up for Parts A and B on their own. To do this, they’ll work with Social Security during their Initial Enrollment Period or “IEP”, which includes the three months before, the month of, and the three months after their 65th birth month. If an individual misses his or her IEP and doesn’t have other creditable coverage, he or she can enroll in Parts A and B during the General Enrollment Period. In this case, a penalty may apply. General enrollment begins January 1 and ends March 31 with coverage to start the month following enrollment. If an enrollee has prior creditable coverage, he or she can request for Medicare to begin under a Special Enrollment Period up to eight months after they lose that coverage.

Check out Pelorus advisor Kristen Bush’s introduction to Part B enrollment by clicking the image below or read our 'Deep Dive' on when to enroll in Original Medicare.