Medicare Advantage Enrollment

Enrolling in Medicare for the First Time

The process of signing up for Medicare for the first time begins with the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP spans seven months and includes the following timeframes:

  • Three months before you turn 65

  • The month of your 65th birthday

  • Three months after your 65th birthday

For those with group health insurance through their employer or their spouse’s employer, it might be possible to delay enrolling in Medicare Part A and Part B without incurring a late enrollment fee.

Once you have successfully applied for Original Medicare, you gain the option to select a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or a Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plan (Part D) from a commercial insurer during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).


The Medicare enrollment process encompasses several key periods, commencing with the Annual Enrollment period, also known as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (AEP). The AEP occurs from October 15 to December 7 each year. Following this, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period, or MA OEP, runs from January 1 to March 31 annually. Apart from these primary enrollment phases, there exist Special Enrollment Periods within Medicare, permitting enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan based on unique circumstances.

During the Medicare Cost Plan Enrollment Period (AEP), which transpires from October 15 to December 7, you have the opportunity to enter, modify, switch, or cancel your Medicare plan and coverage. Whether you possess a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare Supplement plan, or rely on Original Medicare, this timeframe empowers you to customize your Medicare coverage for the upcoming year, without necessitating a Special Enrollment Period. It’s worth noting that you can make multiple changes to your selected benefits or plans during this period. Your decision by December 7 determines the plan and benefits that will become effective.


The plan you enroll in by December 7 will be in effect from January 1 of the following year and typically remains in place until the subsequent Annual Enrollment period recurs the following year. Nonetheless, additional enrollment periods will arise, offering further opportunities to enhance your benefits.


The Medicare enrollment process initiates with the Annual Enrollment period, often referred to as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (AEP). AEP spans from October 15 to December 7 annually. Subsequently, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period, abbreviated as MA OEP, takes place from January 1 to March 31 each year. Beyond these primary enrollment windows, there exist additional Medicare enrollment periods designated as Special Enrollment Periods. These Special Enrollment Periods enable individuals to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan under specific and unique circumstances. Read on to gain a deeper understanding of these enrollment options.

Enrollment Chart: 



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