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Getting ready for Original Medicare enrollment

If you’re already getting Social Security, disability or Railroad Retirement benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance).

If you are not collecting these benefits, you can enroll in Original Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period – the 7-month period surrounding the month of your 65th birthday.

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The decision to enroll in Original Medicare when you’re first eligible may also depend on the type of health insurance you have now: 

If you are currently enrolled in an individual health plan, switching to Medicare during your Initial Election Period is most likely your best option. It may give you cost savings and added benefits when compared to your current plan.

If you are currently enrolled in an individual health plan, and you did not sign up for Medicare Parts A and B during your Initial Election Period, you can still enroll during the General Enrollment Period, between January 1 and March 31 of each year. But, both of these situations must apply:

  1. You didn't sign up when you were first eligible

  2. You aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period

If you sign up between January 1 and March 31, your coverage will start July 1. However, you may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment in Part A and/or a higher premium for late enrollment in Part B.

Talk with your employer. Depending on your current plan premium and benefits, you can decide to switch to Medicare when you’re first eligible, even if you’re still working.  Or, you may decide to delay your enrollment until you are no longer eligible for your employer’s health plan.

Everyone’s situation may be different, so be sure to get in touch with the correct people to discuss your options. This will help you avoid penalties and maximize your benefits.

If you are not already enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, you’ll want to plan ahead. There is a Special Enrollment Period that allows you to sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the eight-month period that begins following the last month you (or your spouse’s) employer or union health coverage ends. Or, following the month employment ends — whichever comes first.

Getting ready for Medicare

Medicare can be difficult to understand, but you don’t have to figure it out by yourself. To help get you started, we’ve created the Medicare checklist below that you can use to get prepared during your Initial Enrollment Period, the seven-month period surrounding the month of your 65th birthday.

If you have questions, we’re here to help. Contact us.

4-6 months before you turn 65: 

Talk to your employer (if you're still working) to see if your current health insurance will change at age 65.


Learn the Medicare basics – What are the parts of Medicare? What do they cover? How much will I pay?


Contact Social Security to make sure you know when you’re eligible to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B.

1-3 months before you turn 65: 

Enroll in Medicare Part A and B before you turn 65 so that you don’t have a lapse in coverage.


Look at options that give you more coverage than Original Medicare alone, like Medicare Advantage plans.


Check with your doctor(s) to see if they accept different types of Medicare coverage.


Check your prescriptions to see if they’re covered.


Sign up for additional coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan.

Would you like to shop and compare plans?

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Last update 10/1/2019