Initial Enrollment Period
For many people, this occurs with your 65th birthday.
When you newly qualify for Medicare through age or disability, you can apply for a
You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B in order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): Oct. 15 - Dec. 7
This is the yearly period when you may change or enroll in Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD), Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), or return to Original Medicare.
Changes you make during this period will take effect on Jan. 1 of the following year.
Open Enrollment Period (OEP): Jan. 1 - March 31
If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may switch plans or return to Original Medicare during this period.
You can change plans only one time during this period.
"Lock-In" Period: April 1 - Oct. 14
You usually cannot change your Medicare Advantage plan or prescription drug plan outside of the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) or Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
An exception is if you qualify for a special enrollment period.
Special Enrollment Periods
In certain situations, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or prescription drug plan outside of the annual and open enrollment periods.
Here are some of the ways you might qualify for a special enrollment period:
- Your current plan is not renewing its contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
- You recently moved to the plan coverage area.
- You have Medicare and Medicaid.
- You qualify for
- You enter, reside in, or leave a long-term care facility.
- You want to enroll in a plan that received a 5-star rating from Medicare for that plan year.
- You are disenrolling from an Employer's or Union's health coverage.
- You involuntarily lost creditable prescription drug coverage.
- You were impacted by a state-declared emergency such as a hurricane.
- You have a qualifying medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or COPD.
Other conditions for a special enrollment period may exist, as determined by CMS.