What is the Initial Enrollment Period?

Turning 65 is an important milestone as it is the first time you are eligible to enroll in Medicare.  Ideally, this is done during your Initial Enrollment Period. 

What is the Initial Enrollment Period?

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the 7-month period that surrounds your 65th birthday, and for most, the first time you are eligible to enroll in Medicare.  See chart below.

During your IEP, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, C and D, as well as a Medicare Supplement policy.

Note:  If you are born on the 1st of the month, your IEP begins a month earlier.  Medicare uses the month prior to your 65th birth month as your Medicare start date.

Enrolling During Your IEP

If you must enroll during your IEP, there are two scenarios that determine how you enroll in Original Medicare.

If you are already receiving social security benefits prior to turning 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.  Your Medicare card will arrive in the mail approximately three (3) months prior to your 65th birth month.

If you are not yet receiving social security benefits, you will need to complete the application process for Medicare Parts A and B. 

To learn how to apply during your IEP, click here

Important: If you miss your IEP, you risk having gaps in coverage and lifetime penalties. 

What happens if you miss your IEP?

Apply during the General Enrollment Period.

If you missed your IEP, or your first-time to enroll in Medicare, you can apply during the General Enrollment Period. This enrollment period runs annually from January 1 through March 31. If you apply during the GEP for Part B, your benefits will begin the first of the month following your application submission. Read more about the General Enrollment Period here

However, it’s important to note that by waiting to enroll until your GEP, you could be without benefits for a lengthy period of time. Therefore, we strongly recommend that if you are required to enroll in Medicare, that you make every effort to enroll during your IEP to avoid any gaps in coverage.

You could incur a Late Enrollment Penalty.

Not applying for Part B when Medicare deemed you first eligible can result in a lifetime penalty. This penalty will be added to your Part B premium. The penalty is 10% of the current Part B premium for every 12 months you went without Part B from when you were first eligible.

You can avoid a Late Enrollment Penalty if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Learn more about late enrollment penalties here

Let’s find out when your IEP begins and ends.

We can remind you when your Initial Enrollment Period in Medicare starts.

Please note that your reminder will be sent 120 days prior to your 65th birthday. If your 65th birthday is within 120 days, give us a call at 703-214-4600 if you need help.

Need Help?

Understanding what your IEP is and how it works is an integral part of obtaining your Medicare coverage.
Still have questions? We can help.

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