Enrolling in Medicare is quick and easy. Depending on your circumstances, you may not even be required to take any steps to apply for Medicare. If you receive Social Security benefits and meet the age requirement, the government may automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A and Part B.
You meet requirements for Medicare once you reach 65 years of age. Your initial enrollment period is the 7-month timeframe you have to sign-up for coverage when you are first eligible. This period only occurs in the 3 months before and after your 65th birthday as well as your birthday month.
For example, if your birthday is November 13th, your initial enrollment period is between August 1st and February 28th. When you sign up for coverage during the time frame will affect your coverage start date. The sooner you sign up, the sooner you can take advantage of your Medicare health insurance.
Your coverage date will be the first day of your birthday month if you sign up sometime within the first 3 months of your enrollment period.
Using the same November 13th birthday example, these months would include August, September, and October.
If you wait until the month of your 65th birthday, your coverage will begin on the first of the next month. However, signing up in the last 3 months of your initial enrollment period will delay your coverage 2 to 3 months.
If you sign up during the fourth month in your initial enrollment period (month after your birthday), your coverage starts 2 months after you enroll.
If you sign up during the fifth or sixth month in your initial enrollment period (the second or third month after your birthday), your coverage starts 3 months after you enroll.
You may still qualify for Medicare coverage if you are younger than 65 years old and have a condition or disability.