Your Enrollment Timeline
You have a seven-month initial enrollment period, starting three months before the month you turn 65 and ending three months after the month you turn 65. Here’s how to prepare.
- 1 Year Before
- Make sure you understand the difference between Medicare plan options.
- Start looking into what options are available in your area.
- Make sure you're eligible for Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.
- See if you'll be enrolled in Original Medicare automatically. If you won't be, contact Social Security to learn more about eligiblity and enrollment.
- 6 Months Before
- 5 Months Before
- Narrow down your plan options by deciding what kind of Medicare plan you want and what type of plan you need. Decide if you want:
- Make sure your doctor and pharmacy are in-network.
- Compare out-of-pocket costs between plans.
- 3 Months Before
Congratulations! If you were enrolled in Original Medicare automatically, you should get your Medicare card in the mail.
- If you have to apply for Original Medicare benefits through Social Security, you can enroll now.
- Start applying for other coverage, like Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or stand-alone prescription drug plans, now.
- 2 Months Before
- Talk to your employer about your decisions to make a smooth switch from group coverage to Medicare.
- If your spouse or any dependents were covered under your employer’s group plan, make arrangements for them to be covered with your employer or on an individual plan after you've switched to Medicare.
- Your 65th Birthday
If you've already enrolled:
- Make sure you have your Medicare card and ID cards for any other coverage you enrolled in.
- Tell your doctors and pharmacy about your new coverage.
- Learn more about using your new coverage.
If you haven't enrolled yet:
- Enroll now. You still have your birth month and the 3 months after that to sign up for a Medicare plan.