Enrollment Periods

There are three types of enrollment periods you should know about – Initial, Annual, and Special. They’re discussed below:

Initial Enrollment Periods

If: You are newly eligible for Medicare because you turn 65.

You can: Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without prescription drug coverage) or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: 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.

 

If: You are newly eligible for Medicare because you’re disabled and under 65.

You can: Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without prescription drug coverage) or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Starting 21 months after you get Social Security or RRB benefits. Your Medicare coverage begins 24 months after you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) disability benefits.

Your chance to sign up lasts through the 27th month after you get Social Security or RRB benefits.

 

If: You are already eligible for Medicare because of a disability, and you turn 65.

You can:

  • Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without prescription drug coverage) or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from your current Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another plan.
  • Drop a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan completely.

Timeframe: 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.

If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time, you can drop that plan at any time during the next 12 months and go back to original Medicare.

 

If: You DON’T have Medicare Part A coverage, and you enroll in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31).

You can: Sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Between April 1–June 30.

 

If: You HAVE Medicare Part A coverage, and you enroll in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31).

You can: Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without prescription drug coverage) or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Between April 1–June 30. On October 1st Aspire Health will start advertising its basic and enhanced plans so that you can make an informed decision come Annual Enrollment.

Election Periods

Annual Enrollment Period

October 15–December 7

What you can do

  • 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.

 

Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

January 1–February 14

What you can do

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

Note: During this period, 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 Plan.

Special Enrollment Periods

If: You move to a new address that isn’t in your plan’s service area. Or

You move to a new address that’s still in your plan’s service area, but you have new plan options in your new location.

You can: Switch to a new Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: If you tell your plan before you move, your chance to switch plans begins the month before the month you move and continues for 2 full months after you move.

If you tell your plan after you move, your chance to switch plans begins the month you tell your plan, plus 2 more full months. If you tell your plan after you move, your chance to switch plans begins the month you tell your plan, plus 2 more full months.

 

If: You move back to the U.S. after living outside the country.

You can: Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month you move back to the U.S.

 

If: You just moved into, currently live in, or just moved out of an institution (like a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital).

You can:

  • Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from your current plan to another Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to original Medicare.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Timeframe: Your chance to join, switch, or drop coverage lasts as long as you live in the institution and for 2 full months after the month you move out of the institution.

 

If: You’re released from jail.

You can: Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month you’re released from jail.

 

If: You’re no longer eligible for Medicaid.

You can:

  • Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from your current plan to another Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to original Medicare.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Timeframe: Your chance to change lasts for 2 full months after the month you find out you’re no longer eligible for Medicaid.

 

If: You find out that you won’t be eligible for Extra Help for the following year.

You can:

  • Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from your current plan to another Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to original Medicare.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Timeframe: Your chance to change is between January 1–March 31.

 

If: You leave coverage from your employer or union.

You can: Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month your coverage ends.

 

If: You involuntarily lose other drug coverage that’s as good as Medicare drug coverage (creditable coverage), or your other coverage changes and is no longer creditable.

You can: Join a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month you lose your creditable coverage or are notified of the loss of creditable coverage, whichever is later.

 

If: You have drug coverage through a Medicare Cost Plan and you leave the plan.

You can: Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month you drop your Medicare Cost Plan.

 

If: You drop your coverage in a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) plan.

You can: Join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month you drop your PACE plan.

 

If: You have a chance to enroll in other coverage offered by your employer or union.

You can: Drop your current Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to enroll in the private plan offered by your employer or union.

Timeframe: Whenever your employer or union allows you to make changes in your plan.

 

If: You have or are enrolling in other drug coverage as good as Medicare prescription drug coverage (like TRICARE or VA coverage).

You can:Drop your current Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Anytime

 

If: You enroll in a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) plan.

You can: Drop your current Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Anytime

 

If: Medicare takes an official action (called a “sanction”) because of a problem with the plan that affects you.

You can: Switch from your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to switch is determined by Medicare on a case-by-case basis.

 

If: Your plan’s contract ends (terminates) during the contract year.

You can: Switch from your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to switch starts 2 months before and ends 1 full month after the contract ends.

 

If: Your Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or Medicare Cost Plan’s contract with Medicare isn’t renewed for the next contract year.

You can: Join another Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Join another Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

 

If: You’re eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

You can: Join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Timeframe: Anytime

 

If: You qualify for Extra Help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage.

You can: Join, switch, or drop Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Timeframe: Anytime

 

If: You’re enrolled in a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP) or lose SPAP eligibility.

You can: Join either a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage.

Timeframe: Once during the calendar year.

 

If: You dropped a Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) policy the first time you joined a Medicare Advantage Plan.

You can: Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and enroll in original Medicare. You’ll have special rights to buy a Medigap policy.

Timeframe: Your chance to drop your Medicare Advantage Plan lasts for 12 months after you join the Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time.

 

If: You have a severe or disabling condition, and there’s a Medicare Chronic Care Special Needs Plan (SNP) available that serves people with your condition.

You can: Join a Medicare Chronic Care Special Needs Plan (SNP) that serves people with your condition.

Timeframe: You can join anytime, but once you join, your chance to make changes using this SEP ends.

 

If: You joined a plan, or chose not to join a plan, due to an error by a federal employee.

You can:

  • Join a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from your current plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage and return to original Medicare.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Timeframe: Your chance to change coverage lasts for 2 full months after the month you get a notice of the error from Medicare.

 

If: You weren’t properly told that your other private drug coverage wasn’t as good as Medicare drug coverage (creditable coverage).

You can: Join a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month you get a notice of the error from Medicare.

 

If: You weren’t properly told that you were losing private drug coverage that was as good as Medicare drug coverage (creditable coverage).

You can: Join a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Timeframe: Your chance to join lasts for 2 full months after the month you get a notice of the error from Medicare.

 

For more information, you can visit the Medicare web site or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.