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Summary: You may able to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during four different periods: your Initial Enrollment Period, the Annual Enrollment Period, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, and a Special Enrollment Period.
Medicare Advantage plans are an increasingly popular choice among people with Medicare, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In 2019, over one third of Medicare beneficiaries had signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan.
If you have Medicare or soon will be eligible for Medicare benefits, you may be looking to a Medicare Advantage plan to provide your benefits. Medicare Advantage plans provide many attractive features, including an out-of-pocket maximum and extra benefits such as routine dental, routine hearing, and prescription drug coverage.
There are generally 4 periods in which you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or switch plans.
For most people, the first time to sign up for Medicare Advantage is when they are turning 65. This time is the Initial Enrollment Period and it runs seven months, starting three months before the month you turn age 65, the month you become age 65 and ending three months after your birthday month.
You generally may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period as long as you do not have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). You will need to select a Medicare Advantage plan where you live. (Generally people with ESRD receive their hospital and medical insurance from the government’s Original Medicare program.)
If you become eligible for Medicare under age 65 because of disability, you will receive a letter from Social Security saying when your Medicare coverage will begin. Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A and Part B. Your Medicare coverage typically starts 24 months after your disability benefits were approved. Usually you will be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan at this time. When you turn age 65, you’ll be entitled to a second seven-month Initial Enrollment Period — this time based on your age instead of disability. You get to start over and may choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan available where you live.
Each year during the Annual Enrollment Period you have the opportunity to review your existing Medicare coverage and, if you desire, change to a different Medicare Advantage plan offered by a Medicare approved private insurer or switch to the government-administered Medicare Part A and Part B program. You can use the Annual Enrollment Period to:
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can change Medicare Advantage plans during this time. Or, you can switch back to Medicare Part A and Part B and replace your Medicare Advantage prescription drug coverage with a standalone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
Usually you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (or change Medicare Advantage plans) under special circumstances that involve changes resulting from life events or a loss of insurance coverage. Listed below are some of the common circumstances that can trigger a Special Enrollment Period.
Would you like to learn more about Medicare Advantage plans available where you live? Simply enter your zip code and select search Medicare Advantage plans.
eHealth's Medicare website is operated by eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., a licensed health insurance agency doing business as eHealth. The purpose of this site is the solicitation of insurance. Contact may be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company. eHealth and Medicare supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. We offer plans from a number of insurance companies.