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We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1–800– MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.
What is Medicare's initial enrollment period?
How soon after I enroll will my Medicare benefits begin?
Medicare beneficiaries need to know when their plan will be effective so they can avoid coverage gaps that could leave them without access to care they need.
Original Medicare is the fee-for-service program in which the government pays beneficiaries' healthcare costs. Get details about coverage and plan benefits here.
Medicare Part A – hospital insurance
Learn about Medicare Part A coverage of inpatient medical care – from hospital beds to skilled nursing facilities and hospice care.
Medicare Part B – enrollee benefits and coverage costs
Medicare Part B covers medically necessary outpatient expenses, including physician and nursing fees, as well as a range of services (such as x-rays, diagnostic tests, some vaccinations and renal dialysis) and some equipment.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) private health plans
Medicare Advantage provides Medicare-covered benefits through private insurance companies. Learn about enrollment, plan benefits, costs, and get a free quote.
Medicare Part D – prescription drug coverage
About 46 million Americans have prescription drug benefits under Medicare Part D coverage, either through a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan (MAPD).
Medicare’s initial enrollment period (IEP) is the enrollment window when Americans become eligible for Medicare. The period includes the three months prior to the month you qualify for Medicare, plus the month of your eligibility, plus the three months after your Medicare eligibility starts – a total of seven months.
During the IEP, Americans can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B (together known as Original Medicare), and Part D prescription drug coverage. If you’re eligible for Original Medicare, you have the option of enrolling in Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C). Here’s how to enroll in the various Medicare plans.
You’ll have an IEP if you’re newly eligible for Medicare for any reason, and get a second IEP if you qualify for Medicare for a second reason. This can happen, for instance, if you first qualify because of a disability and then re-qualify at age 65, or if you’re age 65 or older and develop End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). If you owe a Medicare Part B or Part D late-enrollment penalty, this will be erased when you re-qualify for Medicare.