Medicare Enrollment Periods

What Are The Medicare Enrollment Periods?

You can enroll in Medicare or change your current Medicare plan at five points each year.

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

The Initial Enrollment Period is the first time an eligible person can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. Enrollment can begin three months before your 65th birthday and the enrollment period continues for three months after your 65th birthday.

General Enrollment Period (GEP)

The General Enrollment Period starts on January 1 and runs until March 31 every year. This provides you with the opportunity to enroll if you didn’t sign up for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) when you were first eligible.

Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan (AEP)

The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantge and Prescription Drug Plans mean that if you are currently on Medicare you can change or enroll onto Medicare Advantage from October 15 to December 7 every year. During this window of time you can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to Medicare Part C which is a Medicare Advantage plan
  • You can also change from one Part C Medicare Advantage plan to another Part C plan
  • If you are on a Part D plan for Prescription Drugs, you can also switch from one plan to another Part D plan.
  • Finally, if you didn’t enroll on a Part D plan when you first became eligible, you can add a Part D Prescription Drug plan during this period.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

A Special Enrollment Period is a life event that could enable you to become eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) or to enroll or even change your Medicare Advantage plan.

You can use the Special Enrollment Period if you are:

  • Moving locations and new plan options are available at your new location
  • Losing Employer Medicare Coverage
  • Diagnosed with a condition such as Diabetes or other qualifying chronic condition
  • Moving in or out of Long Term Care or a Skilled Nursing Facility

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment starts on January 1 and runs until March 31. This allows you to make a one-time change to your plan. If you are enrolled on a Medicare Advantage plan (a Part C plan) or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (a Part D plan) you can make a one-time change if you want to:

  • Switch to a different Part C Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Drop Part C Medicare Advantage and return to the Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) plan
  • Sign up for a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug plan if you have returned to the Original Medicare Part A and Part B plan

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is only available to existing Medicare Advantage policyholders. During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, Original Medicare policyholders (Part A and Part B) cannot:

  • Switch from Part A and Part B (Original Medicare) to a Part C Medicare Advantage plan
  • Join a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug plan; or
  • Switch (Part D) Medicare Prescription Drug plans

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