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Medicare Enrollment Periods & Eligibility

Medicare eligibility

Legal residents must live in the U.S. for at least 5 years in a row, including the 5 years just before applying for Medicare.

To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident AND you must meet one of these requirements:

• Age 65 or older • Any age with a diagnosis of end-stage renal

• Younger than 65 with a qualifying disability disease or ALS

 Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

When can you enroll in a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan? Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

For those who become eligible due to age, your IEP includes your 65th birthday month, the 3 months before and the 3 months after. Your IEP begins and ends 1 month earlier if your birthday is on the first of the month.You have 6 months to be guaranteed coverage in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan (Medigap), starting the first month you are age 65 or older and enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. You may apply at other times, but you could be denied coverage or charged a higher premium based on your health history. Some states may have additional open enrollment rights under state law.

Annual Enrollment Period, October 15- December 7 

During Annual Enrollment, you can add, drop or switch your Medicare coverage

Special Enrollment Period due to a life change (Medicare)

Depending on certain circumstances, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare plan outside of the annual enrollment period from October 15 through December 7.

Some ways you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period are if you:

• Retire and lose your employer coverage • Qualify for Extra Help • Have been diagnosed with certain qualifying chronic health conditions • Move out of the plan's service area

Note: Special needs plans have other eligibility requirements.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, January 1-March 31 (Medicare)

If you're already a Medicare Advantage plan member, you may disenroll from your current plan and either switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan one time only, or go back to Original Medicare during this period.