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When Does Medicare Coverage Start?

Part B Coverage Start Date

The start date of coverage will depend on which month you enrolled in Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

Example: John turns 65 on May 6. Therefore, his IEP is from February to August. If John signs up for Part B:

  • During February, March or April, his coverage starts May 1 (his birthday month)

  • During May, his coverage starts June 1

  • During June, his coverage starts August 1

  • During July, his coverage starts October 1

  • During August, his coverage would not start until November 1

If birthday falls on the 1st day of any month, and enrollment occurs during the 3 months before 65th birthday, coverage will begin on the 1st of the month prior to birthday.

Example: Gail’s birthday is December 1. She applies for Medicare in September, and her coverage starts November 1.

Part D Prescription Drug Coverage Start Date

The start date of Part D coverage depends on the enrollment date.

Example: Keeping with the example above, John turns 65 in May. His Part D IEP is the same 7-month period surrounding his 65th birthday as his Part B IEP. His IEP is from February to August. John’s Part D coverage cannot start before his Part A and/or B begins. If John enrolls in Part D:

  • During February, March or April, his coverage starts May 1

  • During May, his coverage starts June 1

  • During June, his coverage starts July 1 (but not before his Part A and/or B)

  • During July, his coverage starts August 1 (but not before his Part A and/or B)

  • During August, his coverage starts September 1 (but not before his Part A and/or B)

Related Content

Original Medicare (Part A & Part B) Explained
Original Medicare, or Medicare Part A & Part B is sometimes called “Traditional Medicare” or “fee for service” Medicare.
Why Some People End Up with Medicare Part B Penalties
Although there are some exceptions, many beneficiaries need to enroll in both Part A and Part B. Some beneficiaries can wait to get Part B with no penalty.
Original Medicare (Parts A & B) Costs
For most people, there is no premium for Medicare Part A, but there are out-of-pocket cost for Medicare Part B including premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance

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