Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

What is the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period?

If you're turning 65 soon, it's time to join Medicare during the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). But when can you enroll? How do you qualify?

Medicare provides a seven-month Initial Enrollment window that spans three months before and after your 65th birthday. This is the first period you can enroll in Medicare.

  • Medicare Part A covers hospitalization, skilled nursing care, home health care, and hospice care.
  • Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It includes doctor's visits, ambulance services, durable medical equipment.
  • Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage.
  • Medicare Part C bundles Part A and Part B (and sometimes Part D) into a single plan called Medicare Advantage. Private insurance companies, not the federal government, manages the Medicare Part C plans.

There are other Medicare Plans, such as F, G, K, L, M, N. These are all supplement plans administered by insurance companies. Supplement plans provide additional coverage and reduce out-of-pocket costs. Medicare supplement plans are also known as Medigap plans. They help fill gaps in coverage.

You are eligible for a Medigap plan if you already enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You can sign up on the first day of the month when you turn 65.

6 Things You Should Know About Medicare Enrollment

  • Your Medicare IEP starts 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after you are 65.
  • Medicare requires you to sign up for Medicare Parts A and/or B if you do currently receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits. Otherwise, you will be automatically enrolled.
  • If you don't plan to retire at 65, you can still sign up for Medicare Parts A and/or B during your Medicare Initial Enrollment. Also, you can delay your Part B coverage if you will keep your employer's health insurance. You can opt for more coverage after you retire.
  • Most people pay $0 for Medicare Part A. However, most pay a premium for Part B.
  • You can change your plan later if you don't like it.
  • If you do not sign up when you first qualify and do not have other major medical insurance, Medicare will permanently charge a penalty.

If you turn 65 soon, make a note on your calendar to enroll when it's time. If Medicare enrolls you automatically, they will mail your insurance card in the 3 months before your birthday.

However, if Medicare does not automatically enroll you, you can apply for Medicare by:

AARDY Can Help

AARDY is the nation's fastest Medicare insurance marketplace. You can compare Medicare supplements, and Medicare Advantage plans to find the one that best fits your needs.

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