You’re eligible for Original Medicare (Part A and B) if:
You’re at least 65 years old, or you’re under 65 and qualify on the basis of a disability or other special situation.
You’re a U.S. citizen or a legal resident who has lived in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years.
When can you enroll in a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan?
Initial Enrollment Period: When you turn 65 or otherwise become eligible for Medicare, you’ll have your Initial Enrollment Period. Your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before and ends three months after the month of your 65th birthday (a seven-month window). If you have employer or plan-sponsored coverage when you first become eligible, you won’t need to enroll until you retire or otherwise lose that coverage. Prescription drug (Part D) coverage must be creditable or you may be subject to a late-enrollment penalty when you enroll in a plan with Part D benefits.
Open Enrollment, October 15 – December 7: During open enrollment you can add, drop or switch your Medicare plan coverage. You might also see this called the Annual Enrollment Period.
Special Enrollment Period: Some individuals may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Depending on certain circumstances, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare plan outside of the Initial Enrollment Period or open enrollment time frames. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you:
- Retire and lose your employer coverage
- Move out of the plan’s service area
- Receive assistance from the state
- Have been diagnosed with certain qualifying disabilities or chronic health conditions.
Special Needs Plans have other eligibility requirements.
Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period: Between January 1 and February 14, you may disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare.