Enrollment Periods

Enrollment Timeframes

When can you join a Medicare Advantage plan?

There are specific times when you can sign up for Medicare Advantage plans, or make changes to coverage you already have. You don't need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, each year you'll have a chance to review your coverage and change plans.

When you first get Medicare (Initial Enrollment Periods for Part C & Part D)

  • You are newly eligible for Medicare because you turned 65.
    • You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during the 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you ask to join a plan. If you join during one of the 3 months before you turn 65, your coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn 65.
  • You are newly eligible for Medicare because you have a disability (under 65).
  • You are already eligible for Medicare because of a disability, and you turned 65.
  • You have Medicare Part A coverage, and enrolled in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31).
    • You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan between April 1-June 30.

During certain times each year (yearly enrollment periods for Part C & Part D)

Each year, you have a chance to make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year. There are 2 separate enrollment periods each year.

Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage (October 15-December 7)

You can:

  • 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 drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (January 1-February 14)

You can:

  • If you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare.
  • If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you'll have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.

You can't:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another.
  • Join, switch, or drop a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan.

Y0010_MK18060 Approved 10/19/2017
Last updated 10/01/2017

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Introduction to Medicare