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When Does Medicare Start?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published December 19, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Most citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. are eligible for Original Medicare at the age of 65However, some people are eligible before that.

We’ve got all the information you need about Medicare requirements and your options.

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Original Medicare Enrollment

Original Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older and younger people with certain disabilities or with End-Stage Renal Disease.

For those who are eligible at 65, your seven-month initial enrollment period begins three months before you turn 65, includes your birthday month, and runs three months later.

You can sign up for Medicare in one of four simple ways:

If you don’t enroll during your initial enrollment period, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year.

It's important to note that if you sign up during the General Enrollment Period, your coverage won't being until July 1. You may have to pay late enrollment penalties, too.

Some people aren’t required to initiate the enrollment process. If you meet either of the following stipulations, you’ll be automatically enrolled:

  • If you’ve turned 65 years old and are already receiving Social Security benefits or have applied for them
  • If you’re younger than 65 and have received Social Security Disability benefits for 24 months

Family of all ages smiling

Medicare Supplement Insurance Enrollment

A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (also called Medigap) can help cover some of the out-of-pocket health insurance costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

Your Open Enrollment Period starts as soon as you are at least age 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B, and it lasts for six months. During this period, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy and cannot be denied coverage or charged more for your plan based on your age or pre-existing health conditions.

To compare free Medigap plan quotes, connect with a licensed agent at 1-800-995-4219.



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