Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is specific to a new Medicare-eligible beneficiary at age 65. You can enroll in Part B (and/or Part if you have to buy it) during this enrollment period.

How long is IEP period?

This period lasts for 7 months. It includes the 3 months before the month of your birthday, the month of your birthday, and the 3 months after your birthday.

Will I automatically be enrolled in Medicare?

If you are receiving Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at the time you turn age 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. And, you will receive your Medicare card in the mail very close to the beginning of the first 3 month period.

If you decide that you do not want Medicare Part A or B, you wil have to inform Social Security.

When is the earliest I can apply for Medicare?

You may apply as early as the 1st day of the first month of the 3 month period.

For example: If you turn age 65 on March 15th. The first 3 months of the 7 month period are December, January and February. Therefore, you can apply as early as December 1st.

Regardless of when you apply for Medicare during the first 3 months, your effective date will be the 1st day of your birthday month.

The only exception to this rule is for those who are born on the 1st of a month. Their effective day is the 1st day of the month of the month prior to their birthday month.

When is the latest I can apply for Medicare?

You can wait until the last month of the 3 month period (which would be the 7 month).

HOWEVER, if you do wait until the 6 or the 7 month to apply, your effective date will be delayed. This is not wise.

What if I do not apply for Medicare during this period?

If you do not apply for Medicare during your initial enrollment period, and you do not qualify for a special enrollment period, you will have to wait until the General Enrollment Period (GEP) to apply, which is January 1st – March 31st.

And, your effective date for coverage will be delayed.

How do I apply for Medicare?

If you are not automatically enrolled in Medicare, you may apply for Medicare Parts A and/or Part B two ways.

  • Online
  • Call Social Security, 1-800-772-1213, and make an appointment for assistance.
Should I enroll in both Medicare Parts A & B?

If you are currently working and have employer group health coverage, or you are covered under your spouse’s employer group health coverage, you may want to delay your Part B.

In this case, you would benefit from professional advising. Contact me.

Additional Questions? Submit here.