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Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods: When can I join, switch or change plans?


Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

Your initial Medicare Advantage enrollment period is a 7-month period. It begins 3 months before you turn 65, it includes your birthday month, and it extends 3 months after your birthday. You can enroll in any Medicare insurance plan.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP)

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs every year from January 1 through March 31 and allows enrollees to either switch to Original Medicare or switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.


Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

  • This is sometimes called Open Enrollment. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is October 15 to December 7 every year. During AEP you can join, switch or drop a plan. For example, you can: 
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan.
  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug plan.
  • Drop a Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Then you could also apply for a Medicare Supplement plan.
  • Replace a Medicare Advantage plan with a standalone Medicare prescription drug plan.
  • If you don’t make any changes during AEP, your current plan will automatically renew next year.

Special Enrollment Periods (SEP)

  • The Special Enrollment Period lets you enroll in Original Medicare outside of your IEP due to certain life changing events. For example, you might wait to enroll if you’re still working. Timing depends on when the life changing event happens. Examples include:
  • Loss of employment 
  • Retirement
  • Employer or group coverage ends
  • Move and your current plan will not cover you
  • Your current Medicare Advantage plan is no longer offered in your area
  • Qualifying for Medicaid
  • Being diagnosed with a severe or chronic condition

General Enrollment Period (GEP)

For those who miss the Initial Enrollment Period for Part B, there is a General Enrollment Period between January 1st through March 31st each year. Keep in mind, enrollment begins on January 1st for coverage that begins on July 1st.

Learn More: Can I Change My Medicare Advantage Plan If I Am Not Happy With It?

People Also Read: How do I Enroll in a Special Needs Plan?

Meet Melissa MacCalla

Medicare is not simple and can be hard, frustrating, and downright confusing for most. I love when I get someone on the phone and I am given the opportunity to explain the difference in plans to them and have Medicare make sense. I enjoy talking to clients year after year, hearing about their families growing or them asking about mine.


Senior Healthcare Solutions, you truly stand out from most other insurance agents. Thank you so much for all of your help and I know that you will have nothing but success with how you conduct business.

Joan B.

Montgomery, AL

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