It’s important to understand when you can enroll in Medicare, so you’ll have the coverage you need as soon as you are eligible.
If you’re reviewing this section and have not requested your free Medicare Timeline, please do so now. As you reach certain milestones on the road to age 65 and Medicare, you’ll get personalized emails with specific advice that can help make your path to enrollment clear and easy.
You can enroll for the first time in Medicare Part A and/or B only at certain times without the risk of late enrollment penalties. The first opportunity is your Initial Enrollment Period.
SPEAKER 1: I'm ready to put together my Medicare plans. So now what?
SPEAKER 2: First step is to make sure you have original Medicare.
SPEAKER 1: Well, I get Social Security benefits, so from what I read, I get Part A automatically at 65, right?
SPEAKER 2: Right, but have you thought about Part B?
SPEAKER 1: Well, I have thought about it, and it seems like a good idea to have Part B. I guess I'll need to sign up on the Social Security website.
SPEAKER 2: Don't forget, you can call or visit in person, too. And it'll give you a good opportunity to ask some questions. Also, I know you were really interested in the all-in-one plan that Jim's brother gets. Maybe I can show you that Stay with Blue site again.
SPEAKER 1: Sure. But remind me when I need to do that by.
SPEAKER 2: Oh, technically, your enrollment period goes from 3 months before and 3 months after your 65th birthday month. But since you're still working, you can enroll when you retire. If I can finally convince you to retire already, you'd need to sign up before your initial enrollment period ends because there are only certain times of year you can enroll in different Medicare plans.
SPEAKER 1: I see.
SPEAKER 2: Maybe it's best to decide if you want to retire now, pick a plan, or keep working the 9:00 to 5:00.
SPEAKER 1: I just love my job, so I think I'd like to work longer.
SPEAKER 2: Well, you now have more factors to consider. Do you know if your job requires you to get on a Medicare plan at 65? Or can you wait until you retire and stay on your current plan?
SPEAKER 1: I'd better find out. Without you, I don't know how I'd ever keep all of this straight.
This is a 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and runs for 3 months after the month you turned 65. This table can help make finding your IEP easy.
|Your Initial Enrollment
|Your Initial Enrollment
|January||October 1||April 30|
|February||November 1||May 31|
|March||December 1||June 30|
|April||January 1||July 31|
|May||February 1||August 31|
|June||March 1||September 30|
|July||April 1||October 31|
|August||May 1||November 30|
|September||June 1||December 31|
|October||July 1||January 31|
|November||August 1||February 28 (29 in a leap year)|
|December||September 1||March 31|
If you are new to Medicare, then your IEP for these options is exactly the same as your IEP for Medicare Part A and/or B.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois offers a range of Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans. You can enroll in these plans once you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or B.
For information, call us at 1-800-000-0000 (TTY 711).
If you do not enroll during your IEP, special circumstances may allow you to sign up for Part A and/or B during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
If you have a retiree group plan, the dates for this period are determined by your employer. If you have multiple plan options, you can change plans during this time if you find your current one isn't meeting your needs.
You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or B, if:
If you do not fit one of the examples above, you must sign up for Medicare yourself. You have three options to enroll:
For more details on when to enroll, check out this Fact Sheet from Medicare.
You may enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan at any time after you enroll in Medicare Part B. You are guaranteed acceptance as long as you also have Part A and if you enroll during the six-month Open Enrollment Period following your Part B enrollment. After that, your application will have to go through underwriting and you may be denied coverage.
Unsure about when you should enroll in a plan? Call Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois at 1-800-000-0000 (TTY 711). A Medicare advisor can guide you through every step of the process.
Answer a few simple questions and we’ll provide you with a personalized timeline. You’ll also receive reminders with important information and actions you can take to stay on track as you near your Medicare eligibility.Create My Timeline →
Get started with your member login. Verify your information and see personalized recommendations based on lowest cost and most comprehensive coverage. Compare your options, contact an agent and enroll, all in one easy-to-use tool.Help Me
As our valued member, you have access to exclusive resources and assistance. We’re here to help you make a smooth transition to Medicare. Call us to learn more.1-800-000-0000 (TTY 711)
We’re open between 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., local time, 7 days a week. If you’re calling from April 1 through September 30, alternate technologies (for example, voicemail) will be used on the weekends and holidays.