When am I eligible for Medicare?

You may already know that people are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. But did you know there are other criteria for eligibility, too? It’s a good idea to learn as much as possible about Medicare eligibility so you know when to enroll. This could be during one of the Medicare enrollment periods or you might qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. It pays to do your research.

What are the requirements for Medicare eligibility?

You’re eligible for Medicare when:

  • You’re 65 or older;
  • You or your spouse worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment;
  • You’ve been a U.S. citizen or legal resident for at least five consecutive years; and/or
  • You are younger than 65, but qualify for Medicare due to a disability or End-Stage Renal disease (ESRD).

If you’re nearing Medicare eligibility because of your age—also called “aging into” Medicare—it’s important to remember:

  • Even if you’re already collecting Social Security, you must wait until you’re 65 to join Medicare.
  • If you’re not collecting Social Security, you may still join Medicare after you turn 65.
  • You must be 65 to join Medicare. Your spouse’s age doesn’t count. So if you were receiving insurance benefits through your spouse and they are aging into Medicare, you will need to find coverage for yourself until you turn 65.

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a 7-month period that begins 3 months before your 65th birthday, includes the month of your birthday, and lasts 3 months after your 65th birthday. You also enter an IEP when you become eligible for Medicare due to disability. This type of IEP also lasts 7 months: 3 months before you become eligible due to disability, the month you become eligible, and 3 months after your eligibility month. Remember: if you wait until after your IEP to join Medicare, you may find you’ll pay more and have fewer choices.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is October 15 through December 7 of each year. It is also called the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP). During this time, Medicare-eligible individuals may add, switch or drop Medicare coverage.

General Enrollment Period

The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) runs from January 1 through March 31. During this time, you can enroll in Original Medicare Part A, Part B or both if:

  • You did not enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
  • You chose to delay enrollment when you first became eligible.
  • You previously terminated or withdrew from Part A, Part B or both and want to re-enroll.

When you enroll or re-enroll in Medicare during the GEP, your coverage begins on July 1 of the year you enroll.

–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

For more information on Medicare Enrollment and Special Enrollment Periods contact us at (888) 891-5557

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