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Healthy Aging

Navigating Medicare Enrollment

Picture of American Specialty Health
By American Specialty Health on September 27, 2022
Navigating Medicare Enrollment

Medicare enrollment can be a confusing labyrinth, especially when enrolling the first time. Here are resources to help you walk through it.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment period is October 15 – December 7. Below are some links to resources about Medicare that help explain how and when to sign up, if you’re eligible and ready.


What is Medicare? 

Medicare is a health insurance program run by the federal government. It is for people who:

  • Are aged 65 and older, or
  • Are younger than 65 with certain disabilities, or
  • Have a condition called End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

Medicare is made up of 4 separate parts: Part A, B, C, and D.

Learn more about each of the 4 parts here.


When to enroll in Medicare for the first time

The timing for enrollment may be different, depending on whether you’re enrolling for the first time in the months leading up to your 65th birthday, are younger than 65 with certain disabilities, or have ESRD. Learn more about how and when you can enroll.  


What to know if you delay enrollment

If you don’t enroll at age 65, you may have to pay late penalties in the form of higher Medicare premiums once you do enroll. But there are exceptions to this rule. Learn more about some of these and when to enroll if you continue working past age 65.


Medicare costs

These can vary, depending on how much you paid in Medicare taxes while working, the income you made, and the health plan you chose. Get an at-a-glance breakdown of some common Medicare costs.

When you may need to re-enroll

Once you enroll in Medicare the first time, you typically don’t need to enroll again each year. As long as you pay your monthly premiums, you are automatically re-enrolled. The exception to this is if you want to switch health plans. Learn more about the reasons you may need to re-enroll in Medicare.


Do you want to learn more details about the Medicare enrollment process? Click here to talk to someone at Medicare.gov.




Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Deciding whether to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B when you turn 65. https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Find-Your-Provider-Type/Employers-and-Unions/FS3-Enroll-in-Part-A-and-B.pdf

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Medicare program: General information. https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/MedicareGenInfo

Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Joining a health or drug plan: When can I join, switch, or drop a plan? https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/joining-a-health-or-drug-plan

Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Consider these 7 things when choosing coverage. https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/your-medicare-coverage-choices/consider-these-7-things-when-choosing-coverage

Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Medicare basics. https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/medicare-basics

Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Getting started with Medicare. https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare

Medicare.gov. (n.d.). How to get prescription drug coverage. https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/how-to-get-prescription-drug-coverage

Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Working past 65. https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/medicare-basics/working-past-65


This article was written by Gail Olson, edited by Candace Hodges, and clinically reviewed by Elizabeth Thompson, MPH, RD.


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