Signing Up and Making Changes

It’s really important to note that there are very strict rules about when your loved one can sign up for Medicare and when they can make changes to their plan. If they miss a deadline, they may have to pay penalties or they may not be able to get the coverage she wants.

The sign up rules and dates are pretty complicated, so the best thing to do is read through the website, especially the section on signing up and changing plans. Medicare also provides a toll free number you can call: 1-800-MEDICARE.

Important Dates

Definitely pay attention to the following dates:

1. Your loved one is turning 65: Sign up begins 3 months before the month they turn 65 and ends 3 months after
2. Your loved one is over 65 but is retiring from a job that provides health insurance: Your loved one can sign up for Medicare as soon as they retire
3. October 15 to December 7th: They can sign up for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)
4. January 1 - February 14: They can switch from Medicare Advantage back to Traditional Medicare

Note that the above are just some of the important dates. There are a whole bunch of exceptions! Also, Medicare rules can change at any time, so best to check their website or call them!