When can you enroll in Medicare?

Avoid penalties and lapses in coverage by learning about Medicare’s enrollment periods and rules.

Medicare has many enrollment periods and rules about when you can enroll or make changes to your coverage. Knowing this information can help you avoid enrollment penalties and lapses in coverage.

Understand when to enroll in a plan or make changes with this summary of Medicare enrollment dates:

Enrollment period What you can do When you can do it
Initial enrollment period (IEP)

Enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) for the first time

Apply for and enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan with guaranteed issue

3 months prior to, the month of, or three months after you turn 65. Or, after month 24 of receiving disability benefits.
Annual enrollment period (AEP) Existing Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in or switch to a prescription drug plan, Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or MA plan with prescription drug coverage October 15 to December 7, annually (coverage effective January 1 of the following year)
Medicare Advantage open enrollment period (MA OEP) or General Enrollment Period Disenroll from an MA plan and enroll in another MA plan (with or without prescription drug coverage) or Original Medicare and, if needed, a stand-alone prescription drug plan January 1 to March 31, annually
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)* Enroll in a prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan If you qualify for an SEP, you can enroll after an IEP or AEP has ended

*Learn about the circumstances that may make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) at Medicare.gov.

Learn more about enrollment periods at Medicare.gov. You can contact our Medicare Solutions specialists online or call 800-280-2583 to help you determine which enrollment period you can use.