Medicare only allows you to enroll during certain times of the year and based on your circumstance. Here’s a summary of the Medicare enrollment dates.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) – Once you turn 65 or are eligible for Medicare. This period begins 3 months before, includes your birthday month and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you are still employed when you turn 65, you are not required to enroll until you retire or lose that coverage. Prescription drug (Part D) coverage must be creditable or you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty once you enroll in a plan with Part D benefits.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) (October 15 – December 7) – This is your opportunity each year to add, drop, or switch your current Medicare Plan.
Open Enrollment Period (OEP) (January 1 – March 31) – This is your opportunity to make one final change if you are not happy with your current plan. Effective date will be the 1st of the month following the date in which the final change was made. Moving from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan is not allowed.
Special Election Period (SEP) – There are certain times when beneficiaries may be able to enroll in a Medicare plan outside the initial, annual and open enrollment periods, including but not limited to:
- Retire and lose employer coverage
- Move outside of plan’s service area
- Receive assistance from the state
- Recently moved into, live in, or recently moved out of a Long-Term Care Facility such as a nursing home
- Recently lost creditable prescription drug coverage (coverage that was as good as Medicare)