Medicare Enrollment Time and How it Works

Yes, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plans and Drug plan once a year

This is the time to re-evaluate cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies in their networks.

For First timers:

People can also join a Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D prescription drug plan for the first time. If they are already in one of these plans, they can switch. If they don’t want [the plans they currently have], they can un-enroll and go back to Original Medicare,

Medicare Part A: You are automatically enrolled and no costs. You have been paying into this.

Medicare Part B: You actually have to enroll in Part B and has a monthly cost

Medicare Part D: Open enrollment will be from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 and any changes you make will take effect in January the following year..

Advantage Plans Enrollment:

Initial Enrollment (IEP):

You can change Medicare Advantage plans anytime during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you qualify for Medicare by age, your Initial Enrollment Period 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.

Annual Enrollment (AEP):

October 15 – December 7. This is the only time you can keep your Advantage planP plan or change it

Open Enrollment (OEP):

Open Enrollment happens every year in the Fall and is a period during which Medicare plan enrollees can reevaluate their coverage – whether it’s Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage or a prescription drug plan through Medicare Part D (RX). If you have Original Medicare with a Medigap supplemental plan and are happy with it, you need take no action.January 1 – March 31. If you find that your Advantage Plan does not work for you and you want to change, you can do one of these:

• Switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage

• Go back to Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan and join a Drug

Supplement Medigap Plans Enrollment:

You can change Medicare Supplement (Medigap) anytime during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you qualify for Medicare by age, your Initial Enrollment Period 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.

Supplement or Medigap plans can be change anytime during the year as long as your still in good health

Special Enrollment Plans (SEP):

If you’re covered under a group health plan based on current employment, you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B anytime as long as:

• You or your spouse (or family member if you’re disabled) is working.

• You’re covered by a group health plan through the employer or union based on that work.

You also have an 8-month period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B that starts at one of these times (whichever happens first):

• The month after the employment ends

• The month after group health plan insurance based on current employment ends

Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a Special Enrollment Period.

You may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for Part A and Part B if you’re a volunteer, serving in a foreign country.

*Pre-existing conditions are generally health conditions that existed before the start of a policy. They may limit coverage, be excluded from coverage, or even prevent you from being approved for a policy; however, the exact definition and relevant limitations or exclusions of coverage will vary with each plan, so check a specific plan’s official plan documents to understand how that plan handles pre-existing conditions.

Remember, if you have drug assistance through Extra Help or a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP), these costs may be different for you.

For those who currently have a Part D, Drug Plan (RX):

Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) each year is a very important for people to review drug coverage for the coming year. It’s important to keep in mind what drug costs are going to be next year, and what you should expect to pay in the different phases of Part D drug coverage.

Be sure to have your medications available when you look at the plans.

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