Annual Election Period (AEP)
Unless you are able to participate in another enrollment period, this is the only time that you can enroll or change your Medicare plan for the following year. Medicare members typically use this time to join Medicare Part C or Medicare Part D, also known as Medicare Advantage Plans, if they did not do so previously. The AEP takes place each year between October 15 and December 7.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA/OEP)
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period takes place between January 1 and March 31 of the year of coverage. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is an opportunity to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare or switch to another Medicare Advantage plan.
Special Enrollment Period
You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or you lose other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP. Some examples include:
- You are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid
- You qualify for Extra Help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage
- You change where you live
- You lose your current coverage
- You have a chance to get other coverage
- Your plan changes its contract with Medicare
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
This is a 7-month window that begins 3 months prior to your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after. For example, if your birthday is in August, your IEP starts in May and ends in November.
General Enrollment Period
The General Enrollment Period falls between January 1 and March 31 each year. This enrollment period is for people who didn’t sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period. Original Medicare coverage would then start in July of the same year.