Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is important because those who enroll during this time are guaranteed to be approved without waiting periods or penalties.  Original Medicare enrollment 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 during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

Senior learning about Medicare´s Initial Enrollment Period.

When does Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period 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 Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and Part D drugs.

Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D drug coverage also have IEP that are slightly different but start at the same time.

  • Medigap IEP: Once you enroll in Medicare Part A and B you get a 6-month period in which you can enroll in a Medigap Plan without medical underwriting.  Those who sign up after this IEP timeframe can be turned down for Medigap due to pre-existing conditions
  • Medicare Advantage/Part D IEP: The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Part D Drug Plan is the same as for Original Medicare. You have the same three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and then three more months after your birth month to enroll. If you miss the Medicare Advantage and Part D IEP you can be subject to penalties and waiting periods.

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, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty when you enroll at a later date. 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 end of this coverage and you will not be subject to penalties.

When will your coverage start?

Great question! We get that question a lot here at so please read our dedicated article Medicare Part B: New Start Dates For Coverage In 2023

What’s next after I enroll in Medicare

After you get Medicare, it is often a wise choice to enroll in a Medigap Plan. can help you research and select a Medigap plan.

There is never a charge or hidden fee to work with  Since Medicare Insurance prices are regulated, no one can sell you the same plan for less than we can. You should think of us as a one-stop shop and we charge you absolutely nothing for our services (insurance companies give us a commission directly but it doesn’t affect your monthly premium). Get an instant Medigap quote to see yourself. Give us a call when you are ready to enroll.

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