Enrollment Periods

If a person is eligible for Medicare — but is not automatically enrolled — he or she can sign up during one of these enrollment periods:

  • Initial Enrollment Period — the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month the person turns 65, includes the month the person turns 65, and ends 3 months after the month the person turns 65.
  • Special Enrollment Period — if the person didn’t sign up for Medicare when first eligible, because he or she is still covered under a group health plan based on current employment, he or she can sign up later—up until 8 months after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first.
  • General Enrollment Period — if the person didn’t sign up for Medicare during the initial enrollment period, and doesn’t qualify for a special enrollment period, he or she can sign up between January 1 and March 31 each year. Coverage won’t start until July 1 of that year, and the person may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment.