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Medicare Basics

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period, and during Special Enrollment Periods if you meet certain criteria.

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

Your IEP occurs during the seven months surrounding your 65th birthday. This includes the three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and the three months following your birthday. So, if your birthday is June 15, your IEP begins on March 1 and ends on September 30. If you sign up during the three months before your birthday, Part B coverage begins the first day of the month of your birthday (June 1 in our example). The same is true if you sign up for Part D.

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

This is the annual enrollment period that takes place from October 15 through December 7. During this time, current Medicare beneficiaries may switch, drop, or add a Medicare Advantage and/or Prescription Drug Plan.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

From January 1 through March 31, anyone who currently has a Medicare Advantage plan may switch to a different MA plan or switch back to Original Medicare. For those choosing to return to Original Medicare, you may also enroll in a Part D plan. You may only make one change during the Medicare Advantage OEP. Any changes you make take effect the month after the plan receives your request.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

If you waited to sign up for Medicare Advantage due to having coverage through your or your spouse’s employment, you may be eligible for an SEP. Please go to Medicare.gov for more information on Special Enrollment Periods.