Medicare Enrollment Period Chart

Get a free Medicare Enrollment Period Chart to help patients understand Medicare enrollment periods. Download the PDF template here.

By Ericka Pingol on Jun 03, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program in the United States that provides coverage for individuals over 65 years old, people with specific disabilities, and those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

This program consists of four parts: Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage plans), and Part D (prescription drug coverage). Medicare helps cover the cost of medical care, including hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.

To be eligible for Medicare, individuals must meet certain criteria:

  • Most individuals become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years old. This includes U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and those who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.
  • People under the age of 65 with certain disabilities, such as Lou Gehrig's disease or permanent kidney failure, can also qualify for Medicare.
  • People with ESRD, also known as kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, are eligible for Medicare regardless of their age.

Printable Medicare Enrollment Period Chart

Download this Medicare Enrollment Period Chart to facilitate understanding of enrollment deadlines and guide patient enrollment processes for healthcare professionals managing Medicare-related inquiries.

Medicare key enrollment periods

Medicare has specific enrollment periods that individuals must follow to sign up for the program or change their coverage. It's crucial to understand these enrollment periods to avoid any late enrollment penalties or gaps in coverage.

Initial enrollment period

This is the first time an individual can enroll in Medicare, and it usually starts three months before their 65th birthday. The initial enrollment period lasts for seven months, including the birthday month and three months after.

Initial enrollment period - new to Part B

If someone is new to Part B and missed enrolling during their initial enrollment period due to having health insurance through their own or their spouse's employer, they're eligible to sign up for Part B during a special enrollment period. This allows individuals to activate Part B coverage after their Part A has commenced and up to three months before Part B is set to begin.

Open enrollment period

The open enrollment period runs from October 15th to December 7th every year. During this time, individuals can change their Medicare coverage, such as switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa.

Medicare Advantage open enrollment period

The Medicare Advantage open enrollment period runs from January 1st to March 31st every year. During this time, individuals enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare with or without a Part D prescription drug plan.

Special enrollment period

Individuals who have coverage through an employer or union can delay enrolling in Medicare without facing penalties. Once their employment or union coverage ends, they have an eight-month special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare.

Medicare Enrollment Period Chart example (sample)

Our free and printable Medicare Enrollment Period Chart can help you and your patients understand the various enrollment periods and when they may apply. This chart includes important information on initial enrollment, open enrollment, Medicare Advantage open enrollment, and special enrollment periods.

Download this free Medicare Enrollment Period Chart example here

Medicare Enrollment Period Chart example (sample)

Benefits of using our enrollment period chart

Carepatron's free Medicare Enrollment Period Chart is a quick reference tool for healthcare providers and individuals seeking information on Medicare enrollment periods. Here are some of the advantages of using our template:

100% digital

You don't need to worry about carrying around a paper copy of the enrollment period chart. Our digital version is easily accessible on any device with internet access.

Easy to read and understand

Our chart is based on updated information from Medicare, making it accurate and easy to comprehend. The visual layout also makes navigating through the different enrollment periods effortless.

Saves time

Our chart is a convenient way to quickly find information on Medicare enrollment periods without going through multiple websites or documents. This can save both you and your patients valuable time.


Our enrollment period chart is customizable. You can add your logo or clinic information for a more personalized touch, and you can also edit and update the information as needed.

What are the late enrollment penalties of Medicare?

Medicare has strict enrollment deadlines, and if an individual misses these periods, they may face late enrollment penalties:

  • Part A: For each year an individual could have had Part A but didn't sign up, they will have to pay a penalty worth 10% of the monthly premium for twice the number of years they could have signed up. If you were delayed 3 years and the monthly premium is $499, you have to pay a penalty of $49.90 per month for 6 years.
  • Part B: If an individual does not sign up for Part B when they are first eligible, they may have to pay a penalty of 10% of the premium for each 12-month period that they did not enroll. They also have to pay higher premiums based on their income.
  • Part D: An individual must pay an extra 1% each month if they don't join a Medicare prescription drug plan when they first get Medicare or go 63 days or more without creditable drug coverage.
Do I have to enroll in Medicare every year?
Do I have to enroll in Medicare every year?

Commonly asked questions

Do I have to enroll in Medicare every year?

No, you don't have to enroll in Medicare every year. Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, your coverage will automatically renew each year. However, it is important to review your coverage annually during the open enrollment period (October 15th - December 7th) to ensure that it still meets your needs and make any necessary changes.

What is the eligibility period for Medicare?

The eligibility period for Medicare plan is based on age and certain qualifying conditions. Most individuals become eligible at age 65, while those with disabilities may be eligible earlier. The initial enrollment period for Medicare is 3 months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and three months after your birthday.

What if I miss my initial enrollment period?

If you miss your Medicare plan's initial enrollment period, you may have to pay a penalty and wait until the next general enrollment period (January 1st - March 31st) to enroll. Enrolling during your initial enrollment period is important to avoid potential penalties and gaps in coverage.

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