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How you can enroll in Medicare – and when

Millions will reevaluate their coverage during Medicare's open enrollment (October 15 to December 7), but it's not the only time you can make a change

How to apply for Medicare and when:

Nearly 60 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 nearly 60 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare in 2018. Millions more will enroll during the annual Medicare open enrollment period (October 15 through December 7).

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.

When can you enroll in Medicare?

Millions of Americans are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B at age 65. But it’s not your only opportunity to enroll in Original Medicare – or in other Medicare coverage. It’s important to know Medicare open enrollment dates for initial enrollment and beyond.

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.

Wide range of Medicare coverage options

Medicare plans are alphabetized from “A” to “D” but 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:

The cost of Medicare coverage varies

Your eligibility to receive Medicare coverage without having to pay a premium – and your eligibility for other Medicare plans – depends on such factors as your work history and your health status.

Frequently asked questions about Medicare

Medicare glossary terms