Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period Explained

Learn when to enroll in Medicare to get the most of your coverage and avoid penalties

by Lisandro Bustos+ on Mar 30, 2019 | 1 Comment

Share this article!

It is important to know how the dates work when enrolling in Medicare to get the most out of it. Initial enrollment in Original Medicare, Part A or Part B, usually happens automatically if you are about to turn 65 and already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits benefits. If not, you will need to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B during the Initial Open Enrollment.

When does Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begin?

IEP begins 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after the month of your birthday, lasting a total of 7 months, including the month of your birthday.  You can use our Medicare Deadline Calculator to determine your IEP window and other important deadlines.

Initial Enrollment for Medicare is also Initial Enrollment for Medigap, MA and Part D drugs.

The periods are slightly different though:

  • Once you enroll in Medicare Part A and B you get a 6-month-period in which you can enroll in a Medigap Plan that covers the 20% that Medicare doesn’t and pays for your deductibles, copays and coinsurance.
  • The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Part D Drug Plan is the same as for Medicare. Meaning you have the three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and then three more months.
  • What if I missed Medicare’s Initial Open Enrollment Period?

    Keep in mind that if you do not sign up for Medicare Part B when you are first eligible and instead do it later, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You can read all about it in our article What if I missed my Medicare Deadline? If you delay your Medicare Part B enrollment because of current work coverage (either your own or your spouse’s), you can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period at the ending of this coverage and you will not be subject to any penalties.

    When will your coverage start?

    If you want to know when will your coverage start please read our article When will my Medicare coverage start?.

    What’s next after I enroll in Medicare

    After you get Medicare, the wisest choice is to get a Medigap Plan. We at, are appointed with the top Medigap insurance providers and offer the guaranteed lowest price. You should think of us as a one stop shop and we charge you absolutely nothing for our services (the insurance companies give us a commission direct but it doesn’t affect your monthly premium.) Get a Quote below to see yourself. Give us a call when you are ready to enroll.

    Learn More about Medigap Get a Medigap Quote

    We can also help you enroll in Medicare Advantage or a Part D Drug Plan at no additional cost, but we are not allowed to show quotes online. Call us and we’ll get you enrolled in no time.

    Print Friendly Version

    Share this article!

    Reader Comments and Questions

    By Neil on April 04, 2019

    I left work a month ago can I enroll in medicare and medigap with no health questions? I have diabetes and am 68 y/o

    Hello Neil,
    Seems like you would qualify for Special Enrollment, so that would be yes.

    We would love to help you enroll in Medigap. Give us a call!
    -Michelle from

    PLEASE NOTE: We cannot comment on specific Medicare claims. Contact Medicare directly if you are trying to see if your issue is covered.

    We will not publish your last name or email if you submit this form.

Share this article!

It's 100% FREE to work with Senior65

Call our licensed agent today at 800-930-7956. Click here to learn 5 great reasons to work with