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When you become eligible for Medicare, you will need to keep in mind certain enrollment periods for Medicare, Part A and B, and purchasing a plan in order to avoid penalties or medical expenses.

Medicare Part A and B Enrollment Periods

Remember to sign up for Medicare when you first become eligible, otherwise you may have to pay a lifetime penalty when you do decide to enroll.

Initial Enrollment 7-month period beginning 3 months before the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and 3 months after the month you turn 65
General Enrollment January 1 – March 31
(Available to individuals who did not sign up during their Initial or Special Enrollment periods. Coverage will begin July 1)
Special Enrollment Available for individuals who did not sign up for Medicare because they were receiving credible coverage through their employer or spouse’s employer. You may enroll:

  • When you leave/lose group/employer coverage
  • The 8 month period beginning the month after your credible coverage ends (This does NOT include COBRA coverage)

Medigap or Medicare Supplement Enrollment Periods

Open Enrollment 6 months from when you begin Medicare Part B
(You will NOT need to answer health questions)
Outside Open Enrollment You may purchase a Medigap policy at any time
(You WILL need to answer health questions)

Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) Enrollment Periods

Initial Enrollment 7-month period from when you begin Medicare Part B
(Includes 3 months prior to your birth month, your birth month and 3 months following your birth month)
Open/Annual Enrollment October 15 – December 7
(Coverage begins 1/1 of the next year)
Special Enrollment (SEP) For a complete list of SEPs and their enrollment periods, please contact the Wooten Agency. The following are examples of Special Enrollment circumstances.

  • Relocation to an area not covered by your current plan
  • Return to the US
  • Relocation to or out of a nursing or long term care facility
  • Released from prison
  • No longer eligible for Medicaid or Extra Help
  • Leave your credible coverage
  • Current plan changes contract with Medicare