Enrollment Periods for Medicare

When Are You Eligible For Medicare Enrollment In South Florida?

Automatic Enrollment for Original Medicare

Initial enrollment in Original Medicare (Part A and/or B) happens automatically if you are turning 65 and already receiving Social Security or will start collecting retirement at age 65. You will need to sign up for Medicare Part B at the time that you apply for retirement benefits, and Medicare Part A enrollment occurs automatically if you are eligible for Social Security retirement. A Medicare card will be mailed out about three months before your 65th birthday.

If you aren’t receiving Social Security or RRB benefits when you turn 65, you will have to sign up for Medicare A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday includes the month that you turn 65, and ends three months later.

Remember, if you miss your initial enrollment for whatever reason, you can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B during the General Enrollment Period that runs from January 1 through March 31 of every year. You may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for both Part A and Part B if you did not sign up when you were first eligible. You can also make changes to your coverage during general enrollment.

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Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP)

If you’d like to make changes to your current Medicare coverage, there are specific times when you are able to make those changes. The Annual Election Period (AEP) runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. If you didn’t sign up for Medicare Advantage, Original Medicare, or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan when you first become eligible (during your Initial Enrollment Period), this is your chance to make those changes (unless you qualify for a Special Election Period).

What changes can you make during the Annual Election Period?

Great question! Let’s take a look at what you can do during the AEP:

  • Change from Original Medicare (Part A & B) plan to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Change from Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare, Part A & B
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another (regardless of whether either plan offers drug coverage)
  • Enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan
  • Change from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another
  • Opt out of Medicare Prescription Drug coverage completely

Note: Any changes you make during the AEP go into effect January 1st of the following year.

What if I want to make a change to my Medicare Plan outside of the AEP?

Another great question! If you missed the Annual Election Period for Medicare and need to make changes to your policy, you can do this during the Medicare Enrollment Period, from January 1st to March 31st each year. If you switch to Original medicare during this period, you will have to wait until March 31 to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. 

Medicare allows changes outside the standard enrollment periods in specific situations that are often out of the beneficiary’s control, such as Medicare ending its contract with your plan, through Special Election Periods (SEPs). Other examples of these situations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Moving out of your plan’s service area.
  • Receiving both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
  • Qualifying for Extra Help.
  • Living in, moving to, or moving from an institution such as a long-term care hospital or skilled nursing facility.


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