So you, yourself or someone you know has reached the pivotal age of 65 and are looking to switch healthcare plans, or get a new one using Medicare. Here are a few things that will help guide you to learning when you can apply for Medicare, when the coverage will start, and how to sign up.

When you are first looking to apply for Medicare, there is an initial 7 month enrollment period where you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B Plans.

The seven month period is :

  • 3 Months prior to you turning 65
  • 1 month that you do turn 65
  • 3 months after the month you turn 65

If you are not automatically enrolled into coverage for Part A, and you can sign up for free (if you qualify), you can do this during or even after your initial enrollment period. The beginning coverage date will all depend on your signup date.

If you have to buy Part A and/or Part B you can only enroll during an enrollment period. Remember if you don’t get Part B when you are first eligible to enroll, you could be subject to a late enrollment penalty if you decide to purchase that plan later on.

Part and/or Part B General Enrollment

The dates for you to sign up for Part and/or Part B run between

January 1- March 31 of each year

This is the time frame you can sign up under these circumstances:

  • You did not sign up when you were first eligible.
  • You are not eligible for a SEP (Special Enrollment Period).
  • Note | You may have to pay a higher premium for both plans for late enrollment. Coverage will begin July 1.

For Special Circumstances:

Once the original enrollment period passes, there is one other chance to sign up for Medicare during a SEP or Special Enrollment Period

If you are covered on a employers group health plans you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B anytime as long as you meet these requirements

  • You or your spouse remains working.
  • You are covered by a group health plan through work.
  • There is also a 8 month Special Enrollment Period that takes over the month after your emolument and the employee group health coverage ends.

There is NO late penalty if you are signing up under SEP.

When Will My Coverage Start

Your coverage will start on the first day of the month of you turning 65, if you signed up for the Medicare coverage AND you signed up during the first 3 months on YOUR initial enrollment period

If your birthday is on the 1st of the month your coverage starts on the 1st of the previous month.

How do I Apply

You are able to apply for Medicare ONLINE HERE

Even if you are not ready to retire you can still apply for Medicare. You can apply online and it can be done in as little as 10 minutes. Once you have submitted your application, your are done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation. The SSA office will process and if they need more information they will contact you. If not you will automatically receive your Medicaid card in the Mail. If there is an issue you will receive documentation by mail. 

You can also enroll or apply for Medicare by Phone at 1-800-772-1213 or

In Person at your local Social Security Office.