Medicare Enrollment

When you turn 65, you automatically will be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, provided that you are currently receiving Social Security or benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).

If you are 65 and still working, and are not yet receiving benefits from Social Security or RRB, you will not automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B – you must sign up for these benefits. You may pre-enroll for a Medicare plan at point during the three months prior or three months following your 65th birthday. For example, if you turn 65 on June 10, you are eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan at any point between March 10 and September 10.

Your Medicare coverage becomes effective in the month you turn 65. So if your 65 birthday is on June 10, 2010, the date your Medicare coverage goes into effect would be June 1, 2010. Please note that if your birthday is on the 1st day of the month, your Medicare coverage for Part A and Part B actually goes into effect on the 1st day of the previous month. For instance, if your 65th birthday is June 1, 2010, then May 1, 2010, would be the date your Medicare coverage begins.

The Annual Election Period

The Annual Election Period extends from November 15 – December 31. If any changes are made during this period, they will go into effect the following January.

Open Enrollment Period

January 1 through March 31 is the designated Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage Plans. During this time, you are not permitted to make any changes to your existing drug coverage. If you are currently enrolled in a drug coverage plan, you cannot drop out of it. If you don’t have a drug coverage plan, you can’t enroll in one during this three-month timespan. You may make only one change to a plan that is similar to the existing coverage.