Initial enrollment period (IEP)
Are you enrolling in Medicare for the first time? If so, you have seven months to enroll in Medicare during the year that you turn 65. You can enroll three months before your birthday month, on your birthday month, or three months after your birthday month.
If you don’t enroll during this period, you may have to pay a penalty when you do enroll. To avoid a penalty from the federal government, contact Social Security during your initial enrollment period.
Sample initial enrollment period:
Open enrollment period
October 15 - December 7
Are you eligible for Medicare? You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan like HMSA Medicare Advantage to receive more benefits that Medicare doesn’t pay for. Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or make changes to your current plan every year during the open enrollment period. Health plans start on January 1.
Special enrollment period
Missed the initial enrollment period? Not to worry. You can enroll in Medicare during a special enrollment period if you:
- Lost your health plan through your job or spouse
- Got married