Enrolling in Medicare Advantage
After you sign up for Medicare and your application is accepted, you will have the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Advantage plans are Medicare plans that are offered by private insurance companies who have contracted with Medicare to provide you with your Part A and Part B benefits. If you are interested in an Advantage plan, here is what you need to know about the enrollment process.
Medicare Advantage Initial Enrollment Period
You can only enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during specific times, called enrollment periods. The best time to enroll in an Advantage Plan is the Initial Enrollment Period, which begins when you first become eligible for Medicare benefits. This is how the Initial Enrollment Period works:
- 3 months before your 65th birthday month, the Initial Enrollment Period Begins.
- The Initial Enrollment Period includes the month of your 65th birthday.
- The Initial Enrollment Period ends 3 months after your 65th birthday month.
Other Enrollment Periods
- Annual Election Period: The Annual Election Period (AEP) lets Medicare beneficiaries change their Medicare coverage from October 15 to December 7.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period starts from January 1 and ends March 31. This period will allow you to switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan. However, to use this period, you must already be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Special Enrollment Period: The Special Enrollment Period (SEP) gives you the opportunity to sign up for Medicare or switch to a new Medicare plan, but only if you are in a special circumstance.