Medicare enrollment and changing plans

Need to enroll in Original Medicare? Changing plans? There’s a path just for you. Understand timing and coverage options to get where you need to go.

When can I enroll in Original Medicare or apply for more coverage?

You can enroll in Original Medicare starting three months before you turn 65, unless you qualify earlier. After you’re enrolled, you can look into adding to your coverage with a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, a Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan, or a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan.

Enrolling in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) for the first time.

Enrollment in Original Medicare may or may not be automatic – depending on your situation.

You’re automatically enrolled if you already receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or become eligible early due to disability. Otherwise, you’ll need to enroll yourself during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

You can enroll in Part A, Part B, or both. You don’t have to enroll in Part B right away, because you’ll be charged a premium. Just remember that if you choose to wait to enroll in Part B, you’ll be charged a late enrollment penalty, and Part B coverage will cost you more.

You can enroll in Original Medicare online at the Social Security website or by calling or visiting your local Social Security office.

Can I get additional coverage beyond Original Medicare right away?

Yes, as soon as you enroll in Original Medicare Part A and/or Part B. How much time you have to get additional coverage depends on when you enroll in Original Medicare.

You have to have both Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. For a Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan, you only need Part A or Part B.

First-time Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) enrollment

How do I know if I should change plans?

Health care and budget needs change over time. If your current plan isn’t meeting your needs, you can switch to a different plan or even a different type of Medicare coverage.1

Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plans send information to members every fall. This is called the Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC). The ANOC explains upcoming updates to the plan’s benefit coverage, costs, or service area for the next plan year. When looking at your current and future needs, the ANOC can help you decide if you need a different plan.

When can I change my plan or apply for additional coverage?

Applying for additional coverage (Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Medicare Prescription Drug plans) for the first time

After you enroll in Original Medicare, you can also apply for a plan with additional coverage through private insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare.

Key enrollment periods for changing your coverage

Find Medicare Plans

Enter your ZIP code to see available plans in your area.

Questions about Medicare plans? Call UnitedHealthcare now

Call 855-721-8514 (TTY 711) toll free, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week1

Already a Medicare plan member?

Footnotes

  1. If you choose to change Medigap plans, restrictions and/or underwriting for current health status may apply in states that allow it
  2. If you choose to apply outside of your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period or a Guaranteed Issue period, you may be underwritten and not accepted into the plan. (This does not apply to residents of Connecticut and New York where guaranteed issue is ongoing and Medicare Supplement plans are guaranteed available.)