Typically, you can only enroll in a different Medicare Advantage Plan or switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage during specific times each year. Make sure to enroll in a timely manner to avoid gaps in coverage when using these enrollment periods.
- Fall Open Enrollment Period: You can make a number of changes to your Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment (also known as the Annual Coordinated Election Period – ACEP). The Fall Open Enrollment Period occurs each year from October 15 through December 7, with your new coverage starting January 1.
- During this period you can:
- Change your choice of health coverage
- Add, drop, or change Medicare drug coverage
- You can make as many changes as you need during this period, and your last coverage choice will take effect January 1. To avoid enrollment problems, it is usually best to make as few changes as possible.
- During this period you can:
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: You can switch from your Medicare Advantage Plan (excluding Medical Savings Accounts, cost plans, and PACE) to another Medicare Advantage Plan, or to Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone prescription drug plan (Part D), during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). The MA OEP occurs each year from January 1 through March 31. Remember, you can only use this enrollment period if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan. Changes made during this period take effect the first of the month following the month you enroll. For example, if you switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan in February, your new coverage begins March 1. Unlike Fall Open Enrollment, you can only make a single change during the MA OEP.
- Special Enrollment Period: Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). SEPs allow you to change your health and/or drug coverage outside normal enrollment periods. For example, if your Medicare Advantage Plan would leave your area or you would move out of your plan’s service area, you would receive an SEP to switch to another MA Plan or to Original Medicare. There are several circumstances that may trigger an SEP.
|Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period|
|If you have:||You can switch to:|
|A Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage||A different Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage
A different Medicare Advantage Plan without drug coverage
Original Medicare and a Part D plan*
Original Medicare without a Part D plan
|Original Medicare with or without a prescription drug plan||You cannot switch your plan during this time|
* If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan and a separate Part D plan, you can switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not include drug coverage or Original Medicare, but you cannot change Part D plans.
Note: To make a change during the MA OEP, call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227). If you choose to contact a Medicare Advantage Plan directly to make changes, make sure you submit disenrollment and enrollment requests at the same time to avoid errors.
Note: In most cases, you can only switch to a Medicare Medical Savings Account plans during the Fall Open Enrollment Period.