Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods include; initial, annual and special enrollment
Knowing when to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan is the first step in finding the right coverage.
Whether you’re new to Medicare or are coming up on the Annual Enrollment Period, it’s also good to know about any Special Enrollment Periods that you may have available.
The following video gives an overview of the time that you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
The Initial Enrollment Period is for people who are first becoming eligible for Medicare, either because they are tuning 65 or due to a disability.
The enrollment period for people turning 65:
- Begins 3 months prior to the month you turn 65
- Includes the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
The enrollment period for people with a disability:
- Begins 3 months prior to the 25th month of disability
- Ends three months after the 25th month of disability
The Initial Enrollment Period lasts 7 months. It would be to your advantage to submit an application prior to the month that your Medicare will be effective so your Medicare Advantage plan can be in place at that time.
Annual Enrollment Period
The Annual Enrollment Period gives you the opportunity to drop, switch or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Even if you are happy with your current plan, it makes sense to compare available plans because plans can change annually and what was satisfactory may not be for the coming year.
The Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15th and ends December 7th.
Details for new plans are published on October 1st.
Special Enrollment Periods
Special Enrollment Periods are often triggered by a change in your circumstances.
For instance, if you lose other creditable coverage such as from an employer or former employer you will be granted a Special Enrollment Period.
The same is true if you move from your plan’s service area. Plans are State specific so a move out of State will require you to choose a new plan.
If you are dual-eligible you have both Medicare and Medicaid and can change plans at anytime.
The same is true if you qualify for extra help paying your your Part D, also known as the Low Income Subsidy.
You will also be entitled to a Special Enrollment Period if you reside in an institution such as a nursing home.
The 5 Star Special Enrollment Period has more to do with what plans you have available than a change in your circumstances.
If you are entitled to Medicare Advantage or enrolled in a plan rated 4 stars or less and have a 5 Star plan available, you can make one change per year at any time.
These are the most common Special Enrollment Period and you should consult the Medicare & You handbook if you have another change in circumstance to determine if you can make plan changes.