Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare

The Medicare Initial Enrollment Period is the first enrollment period beneficiaries will encounter. Below we’ll discuss what you need to know about YOUR Medicare Initial Enrollment Period.

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

Many new beneficiaries miss their Initial Enrollment Period which results in them getting a late enrollment penalty. Your IEP window is not annual, each IEP is unique to the individual. It will never be the same as another beneficiary IEP.

Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before you turn 65, the month of your 65th birthday, and continues for three months after your birthday month. Totaling seven months in which you can actively sign up for Part A and Part B unless you qualify for automatic enrollment. When Medicare starts depends on your situation.

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My Medicare Initial Enrollment Period

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

You can take advantage of your initial enrollment window as early as three months before you turn 65. For those on disability, your Initial Enrollment Period window will begin after receiving Social Security for 24 months, and then again when you turn 65.

This is one of the only scenarios where you will get two chances of an Initial Enrollment Period. The other scenario is if you retire, go back to work and get employer group coverage, and then retire again later. When you retire again, you’ll qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

What Happens if I Miss My Initial Enrollment Window for Medicare?

If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period 7-month window for one reason or another, you could still enroll in during the General Enrollment Period. Keep in mind, if you enroll during the annual GEP, your Medicare will not start until July 1st.

Therefore, you could have a gap in coverage. If you didn’t maintain creditable coverage, you’d be subject to an endless Part B penalty.

How Do I Qualify for Automatic Enrollment into Medicare?

You qualify for automatic enrollment if you’re collecting Social Security benefits. You should receive your Medicare card about three months before your 65th birthday. If you’re not collecting Social Security by the time you age into Medicare at 65, you’ll need to actively enroll yourself.

If you have Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability for at least 24 months, you qualify for automatic enrollment as well. Your Medicare card is mailed out about three months before the 25th month of collecting disability benefits.

Part B Coverage Start Date

When Does My Part A and B Coverage Begin?

Your effective date for Medicare Parts A and B depends on when you enroll. If you enrolled within the three months before your 65th birthday, your effective date is the first day of your birthday month. If you enroll during the month of your 65th birthday, your effective date is the first day of the month after your birthday.

Should you enroll in the three months following your birthday, your effective date will be the first of the month either three, five, or six months after your birthday month. This number goes up for each month you wait. For example, if you were born on June 11 and you enrolled in Medicare during the month of August (two months after your birthday), your effective date will be November 1 (five months following your birthday month).

Automatic Enrollment into Medicare for those Diagnosed with ALS or ESRD

If a beneficiary has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, that individual will automatically be enrolled in Part A and B starting the month that disability benefits begin. Individuals with the end-stage renal disease don’t need to receive Social Security disability benefits to qualify for Medicare. They can still continue to work. If you have ESRD, you can enroll in Medicare at any time before turning 65.

Part D Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare

Your Part D Initial Enrollment Period is the same as your Part A and Part B Initial Enrollment Period. If you didn’t enroll in Part D during your IEP window, you might incur a Part D late enrollment penalty. If you have creditable coverage, then you won’t incur a late penalty.

When Do I Enroll in Part D if I Missed my Initial Enrollment Period?

If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period, the Annual Enrollment Period occurs annually in the fall. During this period, you can enroll in Medicare Advantage or a Part D prescription drug plan. Coverage will begin on July 1st of the following year.

What is the Initial Enrollment Period for Part C?

Your IEP for Part C is called your Medicare Advantage Initial Coverage Election Period, or ICEP.


Will a person on Medicare under age 65 to be granted an IEP when they turn 65?
Yes, if you’re on Medicare due to a disability under the age of 65, you’ll get a 2nd IEP when you turn 65.
What's my Initial Enrollment Period if my birthday falls on the first of the month?
If your birthday falls on the first of the month, your IEP will begin the first day of the month four months prior to your birthday month.
When can you get Medicare after IEP?
If you missed your IEP, the next enrollment period for Part A and Part B is during the General Enrollment Period.

How to Get Help Enrolling in Medicare During Your Initial Enrollment Period

At MedicareFAQ, we can help you understand your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period window. Our agents understand the penalties and deadlines for enrollment, they will make sure you enroll in time so you'll never incur any late penalties. They will guide you through the entire process so you have peace of mind that it was done right.

We can also help you enroll in supplemental Medicare insurance to fill in the gaps in coverage that Medicare leaves up to you to pay out of pocket. Give us a call today, or complete our online comparison form to see all your options side by side in your area now.

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.


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