Enrollment Periods for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans


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If you choose to join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan, you can do so during your Initial Enrollment Period, or during an Open Enrollment or Special Enrollment Period. 

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

If your Medicare eligibility begins when you’re 65, your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you become eligible for Medicare prior to reaching 65, you have a similar seven-month enrollment period starting three months before the month your Medicare eligibility begins.

Although your initial enrollment signs you up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, some people decide not to keep Part B coverage. Keep in mind that dropping Part B coverage will make you ineligible for enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan. Otherwise, you can join the Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan of your choice during this period.

Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

An Open Enrollment Period, available every year, allows you to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan, switch plans, or make changes in your existing plan. Open enrollment takes place from mid-October until early December, with changes taking effect Jan. 1 of the following calendar year. Open enrollment provides a great opportunity to reassess and fine-tune your coverage as you head into a new year, and one of MedicareMall’s representatives will be happy to discuss the options with you prior to or during your next open enrollment opportunity.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (or SEP) if you meet certain conditions. Conditions qualifying you for an SEP include:

  • Moving to a new address outside your plan’s service area;
  • Returning to the United States after living outside the country;
  • Currently living in, or have just left, an institution such as a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital;
  • Being released from jail;
  • Losing eligibility for Medicaid;
  • Leaving coverage from your employer or union; or
  • Losing creditable drug coverage.

There are other conditions that may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period, and MedicareMall will be happy to help you determine whether you may qualify.

If you are on Medicare due to a disability

You can join a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan from three months before to three months after your twenty-fifth month of disability. You will have another chance to join three months before the month you turn 65 until three months after the month you turn 65.

If you would like further information about Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods or Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment Periods, please contact a licensed, bonded MedicareMall representative for a free consultation.

Medicare Advantage Plans Index
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