to Nov 30

5-star Medicare Advantage or Part D enrollment window

If you want to join a 5-star Medicare Advantage or Medicare D plan or switch to one you can do it in this window. Medicare awards 1- to 5-star ratings to Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans based on member satisfaction surveys and information from the plans and healthcare providers. The highest 5-star rating is considered excellent.

You can switch into a 5-star Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Cost Plan, or Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) in your area outside of the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) during all but one week of the year (December 1 to 7). Your coverage starts the first day of the following month.

You can't keep switching, though. You can use only one 5-star Special Enrollment Period per year.

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to Mar 31

Winter General Enrollment Window

If you miss your Special Enrollment Period or Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Medicare A & B during this window.

Your coverage will begin July 1. You may have to pay a late-enrollment period in the form of a higher premium for Part A and/or Part B.

When you sign up during the General Enrollment Period, your coverage won’t start until the following July 1, and you might face higher premiums due to a late enrollment penalty.

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to Mar 31

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Beginning January 1, 2019, a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) will run from January 1 to March 31 each year. This replaces the old Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, which ran from January 1 to February 14.

If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) on January 1, you can disenroll from your current plan and sign up for a different Advantage plan during the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). You may do this only once.

During this time, you can also drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare (Parts A & B), at which point you could add a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan or Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).

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to Dec 7

Fall Open Enrollment Period or Annual Election Period (AEP)

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This is the period where you can change your Medicare coverage.

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer prescription drugs to one that does. 
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drup Plan
  • You can also change your Medicare D plan. 
  • Depending where you live you can buy a Medigap policy during this window. 
  • Drop you Medicare Prescription Drug plan

Your new plan goes into effect January 1. 


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