What if I missed my Initial Enrollment Period?

Published by Medicare Made Clear®

The first time most people can enroll in Medicare is during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This 7-month period begins three months before the month in which you turn 65 and ends three months after. But, what if you miss your IEP? What happens?

Some people continue to work past 65 with employer health coverage and may be able to delay Medicare enrollment. If you’re planning to work past 65, and would like to see if you may qualify to delay Medicare, please find additional information here.

What happens when you miss your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period?

If you miss your IEP for Medicare enrollment, you can still enroll. You will enroll during what is known as the Medicare General Enrollment Period.

The General Enrollment Period happens every year, January 1 – March 31. During this time, you will enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. Your coverage will begin on July 1 of the same year.

You may also be eligible to next enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan or Part D prescription drug plan between April 1 and June 30 of the same year.  If you want a Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to enroll in both Parts A & B first.

4 things to know if you miss your Medicare initial Enrollment Period

Enrolling in Medicare late may mean late penalties

Now, here’s the downside to enrolling after your Initial Enrollment Period. Depending on your situation (example: if you have creditable coverage that qualified you to delay or not), you may have to pay late enrollment penalties for Medicare Part A, Part B and/or Part D.

You can read about all Medicare late enrollment penalties here.

Again, whether or not you pay Medicare late enrollment penalties will depend on your unique situation.

About Medicare Made Clear

Medicare Made Clear brought to you by UnitedHealthcare provides Medicare education so you can make informed decisions about your health and Medicare coverage.

Get the latest

Boost your Medicare know-how with the reliable, up-to-date news and information delivered to your inbox every month.

*All fields required