Medicare Advantage Enrollment Guide

Medicare Cost Plan Enrollment Period

The Medicare enrollment period cycle begins with the Annual Enrollment period (commonly know as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, AEP). This Medicare Enrollment Period runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. This period is then followed by the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period or MA OEP, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. Outside of these two enrollment periods, there are other Medicare enrollment periods called Special Enrollment Period, which allows enrollment into a Medicare Advantage plan based on “special” circumstances. ​

medicare cost plan enrollment period

Medicare AEP runs during the fourth quarter of the year from October 15 to December 7. During this period you can get into, change, switch or cancel your Medicare plan and coverage. Whether you have a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare Supplement plan or just Original Medicare, this is the timeframe for you to set your Medicare coverage exactly how you want it to be for the upcoming year without needing a special enrollment period. Actually, you can change your mind about which benefits or plans you want as many times during that period. The decision you make last by December 7, is the plan and benefits that will go into effect.

The last plan you enroll in will be effective as of January 1 of the upcoming year and you generally keep that plan until the next Annual enrollment period comes back around the following year. Of course, there are other enrollment periods coming up that gives you another chance to upgrade your benefits.

The Medicare enrollment cycle begins with the Annual Enrollment period (commonly know as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, AEP). This Medicare Enrollment Period runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. This period is then followed by the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period or MA OEP, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. Outside of these two enrollment periods, there are other Medicare enrollment periods called Special Enrollment Period, which allows enrollment into a Medicare Advantage plan based on “special” circumstances. Continue reading to learn more.

medicare cost plan enrollment period

How Do I Sign Up For Medicare For The First Time?

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which runs from seven months before your 65th birthday, is when you can sign up and enroll in a Medicare:

  • three months before to your 65th birthday

  • your 65th birthday month

  • the third month following the month you turn 65.

You are enrolled in Parts A and B automatically if you began receiving Social Security benefits at least four months prior to turning 65. Prior to the time you turn 65, Social Security will mail you Medicare information and a Medicare card.

You might be able to put off Medicare Part A and Part B without paying a late enrollment fee if you have group health insurance from private insurance companies through your employer or your spouse’s employer.

Once you’ve applied for Original Medicare, you can choose a Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) or Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plan (Part D) from a commercial insurer during your IEP.

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