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Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment Period

Medicare Made Easy

Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

The Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a crucial 7-month window for signing up for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) to avoid penalties and coverage gaps. Here’s a breakdown:


  • It lasts for 7 months.
  • It begins 3 months before the month you turn 65.
  • It includes the month you turn 65.
  • It ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Why is it important?

  • This is the preferred time to enroll in Part B to avoid a late enrollment penalty. This penalty increases your monthly Part B premium for as long as you have Part B and could have enrolled but didn’t.
  • Enrolling during the IEP ensures your coverage starts on time, typically the 1st of the month after you turn 65 (if you enroll in the first 3 months of your IEP).

What if I miss the IEP?

There are other enrollment periods, but they have drawbacks:

  • General Enrollment Period (GEP): This happens every year between January 1 and March 31. Coverage starts July 1st of that year, but you might face a late enrollment penalty.
  • Special Enrollment Period (SEP): This applies under specific circumstances like losing employer coverage. However, qualifying for an SEP doesn’t guarantee avoiding the penalty.

Key takeaway:

Enrolling in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period is the best way to secure coverage without a penalty and avoid a gap in your healthcare.