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.

Under 65

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.

Medicare supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation of insurance.  A licensed agent/producer may contact you.  Medicare Supplement insurance is available to those age 65 and older enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and, in some states, to those under age 65 eligible for Medicare due to disability or End-Stage Renal disease.  MasterCare America, Inc. and Insuractive LLC are licensed and certified representatives of Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP and PFFS organizations and stand-alone PDP prescription drug plans. Each of the organizations they represent has a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. The plans they represent do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.  For a complete list of available plans please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov

Recommended Reading

Learn about the different costs associated with the parts of Medicare.

Learn what different parts of Medicare cover different services.

Original Medicare is made up of two parts: Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.