Make sure you are ready to enroll as soon as your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) starts. This prep list will help.
Mark Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) on Your Calendar
If you don’t sign up for Medicare during your IEP, you will have to wait to sign up, and you might experience a gap in coverage. You will also have to pay a late enrollment penalty for the rest of the time you have Medicare. Set a reminder now so you are ready to enroll when your IEP starts.
Your IEP starts three months before your birth month. It lasts for a total of seven months.
Go to the Medicare Eligibility and Premium Calculator to find your Initial Enrollment Period.
If You Will be Working Past Age 65, Talk to Your Benefits Administrator
Talk to your benefits administrator to understand how your employer-provided insurance will work with Medicare.
You may want to enroll in Medicare, or it might make sense for you to delay enrollment. Getting information about your employer-provided coverage early will help you make decisions about your health care coverage options.
If You are Ready for Social Security Benefits, Consider Signing Up Now
To enroll in Medicare, you do not have to be receiving Social Security benefits. However, if you are ready to start receiving Social Security benefits, signing up now can save you a step when you are eligible to enroll in Medicare.
If you are signed up for Social Security benefits at least four months before your IEP, you will automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare on the first day of the month when you turn 65.
If You are Still Working, Stop Contributing to Your Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you have an HSA, stop any contributions to avoid any tax penalties. You are not eligible to continue making contributions to your HSA after you have Medicare, but you will still be able to use the money in your account to pay for medical costs.
Decide Which Medicare Plan is Right for You
It’s time to pick a Medicare plan that is right for you and your future. Give yourself plenty of time to research all your options.
Get an Estimate of Your Payments
Three months before your 65th birthday, you can get an estimate of how much you may pay for Part A and Part B by using the Medicare Eligibility and Premium Calculator.
Apply for Extra Help if You Think You Qualify
There are programs that can help you pay for out-of-pocket Medicare costs if you have low income and limited resources. Start your application for extra help now so you can get the extra help as soon as you enroll in Medicare.
Decide How You Will Enroll
You are automatically enrolled in only Part A and Part B at age 65 if you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. You will still want to use your IEP to make further coverage choices such as enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan.
If you’re not receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you will need to sign up for Medicare yourself online, in-person, on the phone or at your local Social Security office.
Gather the Information You Need to Enroll
Avoid scrambling around at the last minute looking for all of your documentation. Have it handy now so you are ready to enroll.
Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B
Sign up for Medicare! Your health care coverage start date is based on the day you enroll. It is typically about a month after you sign up.
Decide if You Will Enroll in Other Medicare Coverage Options
Once you are signed up for Medicare Part A and Part B, you can enroll in the other Medicare options that will give you the care and coverage you need. You can consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Part D Plan or Medigap.
Watch Your Mail for Your Medicare Card
Keep your eyes open for your Welcome to Medicare package that includes your red, white and blue Medicare card. It will arrive in the mail about two weeks after you enroll. Be sure to double check your card to be sure all of the information is correct.
Start using your benefits! A Welcome to Medicare checkup with your primary care physician is a great way to get started.
Have questions or need help enrolling?
Call (833) 516-1007 (TTY 711) to speak with a licensed sales agent.
October 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week
April 1, 2023 – September 30, 2023: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday – Friday