How and when you can enroll in Medicare
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period is October 15 – December 7. But there are other opportunities to change your coverage during the year.
64 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare
Medicare is the federal health insurance program created to provide a safety net for senior citizens as well as disabled enrollees who meet specific criteria. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that roughly 64 million Americans were enrolled in Medicare as of late 2021.
All of these people have an opportunity to make various changes to their coverage during the annual fall enrollment period (October 15 through December 7). And the 28 million beneficiaries who have Medicare Advantage plans can make a change to their coverage during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January through March.
Eligibility depends on your age, other variables
For the vast majority of Americans who look forward to receiving Medicare health benefits, eligibility is as uncomplicated as celebrating your 65th birthday. But eligibility isn’t dependent solely on your age; about 14% of all Medicare beneficiaries are under age 65, and are eligible for Medicare due to a long-term disability. Here’s more about Medicare eligibility:
- Am I eligible for Medicare health coverage?
- At what age am I eligible for Medicare?
- How do I know if I qualify for Medicare?
- You can be enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid at the same time.
- Can recent immigrants to the United States get health coverage if they’re over 65?
Medicare availability in your state
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Helping millions of Americans since 1994.
Frequently asked questions about Medicare
When can you enroll in Medicare?
Millions of Americans are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B at age 65. Others have an enrollment window during which they can sign up for Medicare when they’re turning 65, and still others gain eligibility for Medicare due to a disability or diagnosis of ALS or end-stage renal disease. It’s important to know Medicare open enrollment dates for initial enrollment and beyond.
|A quick look at Medicare enrollment dates
|October 15 –
|Medicare’s annual open enrollment (AEP)
|December 8 –
|You may be able to switch to a new Advantage or Part D plan if there’s a 5-star plan in your area.
|January 1 –
|You can sign up for Medicare Part A or B if you didn’t sign up when you were first eligible.
|January 1 –
|The opportunity for people already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan to switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or back to Original Medicare.
|You can apply for Medigap at any time, but in most states, your application will be subject to medical underwriting if you’re not in your initial six-month eligibility window.
Can you can change your Medicare coverage?
The annual Medicare open enrollment period (October 15 through December 7) is just one of a handful of opportunities to swap out your Medicare plan.
What Medicare coverage options do I have?
Medicare includes Parts A, B, C (Medicare Advantage), and D (prescription coverage). And there are also Medigap plans available in every state. Deciding which Medicare coverage is right for you is definitely not as easy as a multiple-choice question with a single right answer. Here’s an overview of your Medicare plan options and other helpful articles:
What is the cost of Medicare coverage?
Your eligibility to receive Medicare Part A coverage without having to pay a premium – and your eligibility for other Medicare plans – depends on such factors as your work history and age. And depending on when you enroll in a Medigap plan, your health status.
Learn about Medicare health insurance coverage options in your state.
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