Eligibility & Enrollment
When most people hear “Medicare” they think of retirement health insurance. But not everyone retires at the same age or is eligible at the same time. It's important to understand your eligibility, and the correct time for you to enroll.
65 and over
Most U.S. citizens are eligible when they turn 65, whether they are retiring or not. You or your spouse has to have paid Medicare taxes through employment for at least 10 years.
If you are under 65 and have a qualifying disability or special condition, you are also eligible. Or if you receive Social Security disability or Railroad Retirement Board benefits for 24 consecutive months. These individuals will also automatically be enrolled, and should receive their Medicare ID card around four months before turning 65.
Not everyone retires at the same age or is eligible at the same time. It's important to understand your eligibility, and the correct time for you to enroll.
Types of Enrollment
For those not automatically enrolled, there's an initial enrollment period (IEP). That period is three months before your birthday month, your birthday month, and three months after your birthday month.
If you miss your IEP, there are three other times to enroll:
- Open Enrollment Period (OEP) January 1 to March 31 - Add parts B or D, switch to Medicare Part C, add a Medicare Supplement.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) October 15 to December 7 - Switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Part C. Switch Part C plans. Enroll in Part D or switch plans. Changes will be effective January 1.
- Special Enrollment Period (SEP) due to certain life events - Loss of employer plan, change of address, other administrative issues.
How to Enroll
The first time you enroll in Medicare you'll go through the Social Security Administration. You can use their website, call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227), or even visit a local office. After that, you can rely on Retirement Health Planners Independent Sales Representative for any additional enrollments, changes, questions, or concerns.