Medicare Enrollment


Generally, if an individual already receive Social Security payments, at age 65 the individual becomes automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). If the individual chooses not to enroll in Part B (typically because the individual is still working and receiving employer insurance), then the individual must proactively opt out of it when receiving the automatic enrollment package. Delay in enrollment in Part B carries no penalty if the individual has other insurance (e.g. the employment situation noted above), or with penalty under other circumstances. An individual who does not receive Social Security benefits upon turning 65 you must proactively join Medicare if they want it. Penalties may apply if the individual chooses not to enroll at age 65 and does not have other insurance.

Medicare eligibility and enrollment

There are only certain times when people can enroll in Medicare. Depending on the situation, some people may get Medicare automatically, and others need to apply for Medicare. The first time you can enroll is called your Initial Enrollment Period. Your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period usually:

  • Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
  • Get an estimate of when you can enroll in Medicare.

If you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty, and you may have a gap in coverage if you decide you want Part B later.