The Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is seven months in length and occurs three months before your turn 65, the month of your birthday, and three months after. The IEP is for enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B. The Initial Enrollment period is the same for Medicare Advantage but for Medicare Supplement policies is a six-month window starting the month of your 65th birthday. If you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B three months before your 65th birthday. If not, you will have to enroll yourself. If you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage, Part-D drug plan, or Medicare Supplemental plan, you will have to enroll yourself during your IEP.
It is vital to enroll in Medicare during your IEP unless you have other coverage through an employer, for example. If you don’t, you may have a gap in health care coverage and incur penalties for not enrolling.