Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have what is called an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). That’s when you can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, or when you’re automatically enrolled. During this period, you can also decide whether or not to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Annual Election Period (AEP)
The Annual Election Period (AEP) takes place from October 15th to December 7th. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries may change their Medicare plan for the upcoming year.
During the AEP, you are allowed to make multiple changes to your Medicare coverage each period. You are able to switch:
- From Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare and vice versa
- From one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- From a Medicare Advantage plan without prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage with a Prescription Drug plan, and vice versa
- From one Prescription Drug plan to another
- To a completely new plan with a different provider
It is recommended that you use this time period to research your plan to ensure you will continue to receive the health care coverage that you need and desire for the upcoming year.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
In certain cases, you might qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. There are several things that can bring about an SEP, and they are unique to an individual’s circumstance, such as loss of employee coverage, moving outside of your Medicare Advantage plan’s service area, or qualifying for extra help.