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Eligibility & enrollment

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

When most people turn age 65, they are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A. However, there are certain situations where you may need to manually enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B during your IEP. You need to make sure that you are signed up before you turn 65 to avoid paying late fees. Enroll in Medicare at ssa.gov.

Your IEP is a seven-month window centered around your 65th birthday. It begins three months before you turn 65, includes your birthday month and ends three months after.

If you are planning to retire at age 65, or you are enrolled in an Affordable Care Act plan:

IEP is your only opportunity to sign up for Original Medicare and enroll in additional coverage from a private insurer like Blue Shield of California if you want to avoid paying a penalty.

If you’re enrolled in an Affordable Care Act plan, you could save upwards of $1,200 per month in plan premiums by switching over to a Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan. That’s up to $14,000 per year!*

* Actual savings may vary. Savings are based on statewide averages of the monthly rate table in 2019 for Blue Shield PPO Individual & Family Plan (IFP) members over the age of 65. Monthly plan rates can depend on your plan, age, and where you live.

Hesitation could cost you! You may need to manually enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period.

IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAYS:

  • Don’t forget to enroll in Parts A and B – it could save you money!
  • If you’re going to retire at 65 or you’re in an Affordable Care Act plan, it may be in your best interest to enroll early.

If you are not receiving retirement benefits or do not qualify for retirement benefits, learn more about your Medicare enrollment eligibility here.

Find your enrollment window

Enter your birth date below and we will let you know.

What to do as you approach enrollment? Get prepared for enrollment here.

Your enrollment timeline.

Your enrollment window begins 3 months before and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Reset birthdate
ENROLLMENT WINDOW
MAY 1
NOW 31
MAY 1
NOW 31
YOUR BIRTHDAY
AUG 1
TODAY
MAR 1
MAY 1
NOW 31
MAY 1
NOW 31

Your enrollment window encompasses when you may be first eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (during your Initial Enrollment Period) and then enroll in a Blue Shield Medicare plan. You may be eligible to enroll during other times of the year.

Your enrollment timeline.

Your enrollment window begins 3 months before and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Reset birthdate
days until enrollment closes
TODAY ENROLLMENT IS OPEN
MAY 1
NOW 31
MAY 1
NOW 31
CLOSED

Your enrollment window encompasses when you may be first eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (during your Initial Enrollment Period) and then enroll in a Blue Shield Medicare plan. You may be eligible to enroll during other times of the year.

Find your enrollment window.

Your annual enrollment period window (or AEP) for a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MA-PD) and a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) for 2019 coverage may be open or just around the corner. You may also be able to enroll at other times of the year if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP).

Reset birthdate

Enrollment begins October 15, 2018

Annual enrollment period closed

days until enrollment closes
ENROLLMENT IS OPEN
ENROLLMENT WAS OPEN
TODAY ENROLLMENT IS OPEN
OCT 15
DEC 7
2018
2018
DEC 8, 2018 CLOSED

Specifying the plan you are looking for will adjust the dates for enrollment above

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Enrolling in Medicare beyond the Initial Enrollment Period

MEDICARE GENERAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD

  • You might be charged a penalty fee for failing to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period.
  • If you did not enroll during the IEP when you were first eligible, you may enroll during the General Enrollment Period.
  • The General Enrollment Period for Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) occurs each year from January 1 through March 31.

MEDICARE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD (SEP)

You are granted a Special Enrollment Period - outside of Initial Enrollment Period and General Enrollment - if any of the following situations apply to you:

You have group or employer or union coverage:

  • When you turn 65, you may choose to forgo Medicare Part B when you become eligible. You will be able to enroll when your group coverage ends.
  • Your eight-month SEP for Medicare Part B begins either the month that your employment ends or immediately when your group health coverage ends.
  • If you enroll during an SEP, you do not have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

IF ANY OF THESE APPLY TO YOU, READ MORE ABOUT YOUR MEDICARE ENROLLMENT OPTIONS:

You are collecting Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security retirement benefits

You are receiving disability benefits

You have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

You have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

This benefit is for people with diabetes, renal (kidney) disease (but not on dialysis) or after a kidney transplant when referred by your doctor: Covers 3 hours of one-on-one counseling services during your first year that you receive medical nutrition therapy services under Medicare (this includes our plan, any other Medicare Advantage plan, or Original Medicare) and 2 hours each year after that. If your condition, treatment, or diagnosis changes, you may be able to receive more hours of treatment with a physician's referral. A physician must prescribe these services and renew their referral yearly if your treatment is needed into the next calendar year.

After you receive your Medicare coverage, there are additional enrollment periods that give you the opportunity to switch plans.
Still have questions? Get them answered with your FREE Medicare Decision Guide today!

Keep learning

If you don’t qualify for state or federal assistance, you can still find an affordable plan that’s right for you.

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