Eligibility and Enrollment

When am I eligible?
When you turn 65, you can sign up for Medicare. Find out what you need to do to sign up for Original Medicare and other Medicare plans.

When am I eligible for Medicare?

For most people, Medicare eligibility starts the month you turn 65. If you’re still working past that age, you’ll be eligible for Medicare when you retire. If you’re turning 65 soon, here are some of the requirements to qualify for Medicare:

  • You are a citizen of the United States or a permanent legal resident of 5+ years
  • You are eligible for or already receive Social Security or railroad retirement benefits
To learn more, visit Medicare.gov or call us to talk about your options.

Medicare Enrollment Periods

Initial Enrollment Period

Your Initial Enrollment Period is the time frame in which you can enroll in Medicare (Parts A + B) for the first time along with additional coverage, such as a Medicare Advantage (Part C), a Medicare Supplement insurance plan or a prescription drug plan (Part D). It spans seven months:

  • The three months before you turn 65
  • Your birthday month
  • The three months after you turn 65

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Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

Begins Oct. 15

Ends Dec. 7

Medicare beneficiaries may choose or change Medicare Advantage (Part C) or prescription drug (Part D) plans each fall, from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. This is the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The choices you make during AEP take effect Jan. 1 of the upcoming year.

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Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

You can make changes to your coverage during the year if certain events happen. These events include:

If you are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid

If you lose your current plan

If you move to a community where your current plan is not available

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Medicare Supplement Insurance Enrollment Period

Visit our Shop Medicare Plans page to learn more about enrolling in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan any time throughout the year.

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What happens if you don’t enroll on time?

If you do not enroll in Medicare on time—and do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period—you’ll be subject to late enrollment penalties. Late enrollment penalties apply to Original Medicare (Part B) and prescription drug plans (Part D). 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.


Blue Advantage from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Blue Advantage from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in either Blue Advantage plan depends on contract renewal.


Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. This policy has exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits or terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage, call Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. An insurance agent may contact you.


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