If you enroll in Medicare during the last three months of your Initial Enrollment Period, your coverage will begin the first of the next month.
If you enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, your coverage will begin on the first of the next month.
Our fact sheet summarizes the Medicare enrollment changes.
Starting in 2023, there are changes to Medicare enrollment periods that will help people enroll with fewer gaps in coverage. Two of these changes are to the Initial Enrollment Period and General Enrollment Period.
How has the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) changed in 2023?
If you are turning 65 and you do not have coverage based on current work, it is usually best to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is the seven-month period that includes the three months before, the month of, and the three months after your 65th birthday. Before 2023, people who enrolled in Medicare during the last three months of their IEP had to wait up to three months before their coverage would begin. Starting in 2023, that gap in coverage is eliminated.
When does Medicare coverage start?
Coverage is now effective the first of the month after the month of enrollment for those who enroll in the last three months of their IEP. For example, if you turn 65 in May 2023, your IEP begins in February 2023 and ends in August 2023.
- If you enroll in Medicare in February, March, or April: Medicare coverage begins May 1.
- If you enroll in May: Coverage begins June 1.
- If you enroll in June: Coverage begins July 1.
- If you enroll in July: Coverage begins August 1.
- If you enroll in August: Coverage begins September 1.
How has the General Enrollment Period (GEP) changed in 2023?
The General Enrollment Period (GEP) is the time period every year from Jan. 1 to March 31 when you can enroll in Medicare Part B for the first time if you missed your IEP and do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Previously, coverage for individuals who enrolled in Medicare using the GEP would not begin until July 1. Starting in 2023, people who enroll in Medicare during the GEP will have their coverage begin the first of the month following the month they enroll. For example, if you enroll in Medicare in January, your coverage will begin Feb. 1.
Note that enrolling in Medicare during the GEP may mean you have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty.
For help with Medicare enrollment questions, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) by visiting www.shiphelp.org or calling 877-839-2675.
Download this Change to Medicare Enrollment Periods fact sheet to share and keep this information: