Medicare FAQ

When you first become eligible for Medicare (the 7-month period begins 3 months before the month you turn age 65, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn age 65).

If you get Medicare due to a disability, you can join during the 3 months before to 3 months after your 25th month of disability. You will have another chance to join 3 months before the month you turn age 65 to 3 months after the month you turn age 65.

Both Original Medicare and private Medicare-approved insurance companies have certain times of the year when you can enroll or make changes to your coverage. These include:
General Enrollment Period: This is the period when you can enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you didn't do so when you were first eligible. It occurs every year from January 1 to March 31. You may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty for Medicare Part A and/or Part B, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (described in the next section).
Annual Election Period: This is a period when you can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage coverage or vice versa; add or drop prescription drug coverage; switch plans; or disenroll from Medicare Advantage to return to Original Medicare. The Annual Election Period takes place every year from October 15 to December 7.
  • Medicare Advantage enrollees have an annual opportunity to prospectively disenroll from any Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare between January 1 and February 14 of every year. This is known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). Disenrollment requests received during this MADP will be processed for the first of the following month. Regardless of whether the MA plan included Part D drug coverage, MA enrollees using the MADP to disenroll from MA from January 1 through February 14 are eligible for a Special Election Period (SEP) to enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and may request enrollment in a PDP during the same time frame. This does not apply to members of Private Fee-For-Service Medicare Advantage-Only (PFFS MA-Only) plans who are also enrolled in separate prescription drug plans (PDPs). An individual may use this SEP to request enrollment in a PDP subsequent to having submitted a disenrollment request from the MA plan during the MADP or may simply request enrollment in the PDP, resulting in automatic disenrollment from the MA plan. Individuals enrolled in MA-only PFFS plans must request disenrollment from the MA-only plan in order to be eligible for this SEP, as enrollment in a PDP will not result in automatic disenrollment from the MA-only plan.

  • In most cases, you must stay enrolled for that calendar year starting the date your coverage begins. However, in certain situations, you may be able to join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan at other times. This is referred to as a Special Election Period (SEP). For a full list of qualifying circumstances, please visit Medicare.gov. Some of these situations include the following:

  • If you move out of your plan's service area

  • If you moved to a new address that is still in your plan's service area, but have new plan options in your new location

  • If you have both Medicare and Medicaid

  • If you qualify for Extra Help to pay for your prescription drug costs

  • If you live in an institution (like a nursing home)
  1. Both Original Medicare and private Medicare-approved insurance companies have certain times of the year when you can enroll or make changes to your coverage. These include:
  2. General Enrollment Period: This is the period when you can enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you didn?t do so when you were first eligible. It occurs every year from January 1 to March 31. You may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty for Medicare Part A and/or Part B, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (described in the next section).
  3. Annual Election Period: This is a period when you can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage coverage or vice versa; add or drop prescription drug coverage; switch plans; or disenroll from Medicare Advantage to return to Original Medicare. The Annual Election Period takes place every year from October 15 to December 7.