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Enrollment Periods

When Can I Enroll?

Annual Election Period (AEP)

The Annual Election period is the most common time of the year to elect plan changes and occurs every year from October 15 - December 7th. If you don't currently have prescription coverage (Part D) you can also elect to add it during this time. If you're happy with your current coverage, you don't need to do anything and will be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan for the next calendar year. Any changes you elect will take effect January 1 of the next calendar year.

You can do any of the following during the Annual Election Period:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

The Open Enrollment Period occurs each year from January - March. The OEP allows beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan to make a one-time change. Beneficiaries can use the Medicare OEP to:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, with or without a Part D drug plan

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65 and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part B to be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage Plan.


General Enrollment

If you don’t sign up for Part A (if you have to buy it) and/or Part B (for which you must pay premiums) during your initial enrollment period, and you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can sign up between January 1st - March 31st each year. Your coverage won’t start until July 1 of that year, and you may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment in Part B if you don't have prior qualifying coverage.


Special Enrollment Periods (SEP)

You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move out of area or you lose other insurance coverage. These changes are called Qualifying Events which makes you eligible for Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each Qualifying Event.

Special Enrollment Periods include:

  • You change where you live
  • You lose your current coverage
  • You have a chance to get other coverage
  • Your plan changes its contract with Medicare
  • You get Extra Help

For a full list and detailed overview of Qualifying Events go to medicare.gov.