Outside of your Initial Election Period, you may use the Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Original Medicare due to certain life circumstances. You might delay enrolling if you’re still employed, for example. The timings are determined by when those life changes take place.
You have 8 months from the date you retire to enroll in Original Medicare without incurring a late penalty. The month your employment or employer coverage ends, whichever is sooner, is the beginning of the 8-month period. This also applies if you are covered under your spouse’s policy at work.
If you want a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan or a Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan after an SEP, you need to act quickly. You have just 2 months after the month your employment or employer coverage ends to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan—but you have to enroll in Original Medicare first.