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The surprising Medicare benefit to having a birthday on the first day of the month...

You can start Medicare coverage a month earlier! Here's how.

Medicare has an Initial Enrollment Period for those turning 65. To ensure that coverage starts on the first day of the birthday month, an individual turning 65 must enroll in the first three months of the Initial Enrollment Period. 

Dana Doolittle’s birthday is in August. If she signs up anytime between May 1 and July 31, Medicare coverage will begin on August 1.

There’s a unique twist for those who were born on the first of the month. Medicare treats this birthday as though it occurred in the month right before the actual birthday. If these individuals sign up during the first three months of that Initial Enrollment Period, Medicare coverage begins the month before their birthday.

Dana’s sister, Delores, will turn 65 on November 1. Her Initial Enrollment Period is the same as those who have birthdays in October. If Delores enrolls between July 1 and September 30, Medicare coverage will begin October 1. 

Last updated: 09-04-2018