Medicare coverage starts based on when you sign up and which sign-up period you’re in.
Generally, there are three main enrollment periods for Medicare:
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): This is the first time you can enroll in Medicare. It starts three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after your 65th birthday. If you enroll during this period, your coverage will start on the first day of the month you turn 65.
General Enrollment Period (GEP): This period runs from January 1st to March 31st each year. If you missed your IEP, you can enroll in Medicare during this period, but your coverage won't start until July 1st of that year.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP): If you have qualifying circumstances, you may be able to enroll in Medicare outside of the IEP or GEP. For example, if you have employer coverage and then lose that coverage, you may be eligible for a SEP.
It's important to note that if you don't enroll in Medicare during your IEP or SEP, you may have to pay a penalty when you do enroll. So it's important to understand your enrollment options and make sure you sign up for Medicare at the right time.