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Medicare Enrollment Periods and Deadlines


Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

In the months before and after your 65th birthday, you have a 7-month initial enrollment period to sign up for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance). This period includes:

  • 3 months before your 65th birthday month
  • the month of your 65th birthday
  • 3 months after your 65th birthday month

For example, if your birthday is August 19, 1957, your initial enrollment period runs from May 1, 2022, through November 30, 2022.


Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Between: October 15- December 7

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Your new coverage begins if you switched to a new plan. If you stay with the same plan, any changes to coverage, benefits, or costs for the new year will begin on January 1.


Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Between January 1–March 31

  • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), you can make one change to a different plan or switch back to Original Medicare (and join a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan) once during this time.

Any changes you make will be effective the first of the month after the plan gets your request.


Medigap Open Enrollment Period

  • The six-month period that begins on the first day of the month in which you turn 65 or older and have enrolled in Part B. (Some states have additional Open Enrollment Periods.) After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy. If you are able to buy one, it may cost more.
  • If you delay in Part B because you have group health coverage based on your (or your spouse's) current employment, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period won't start until you sign up for Part B.

Special Enrollment Period

Special Enrollment Periods are available for people to join who are undergoing special life events or circumstances that make it difficult to enroll during designated enrollment periods.


General Enrollment Period

If you missed either or both the IEP and SEP, you still have time to apply for Medicare. This enrollment period is called the General Enrollment Period. It lasts from January 1 to March 31. Your coverage will then begin July 1.

If you apply for Medicare during this time, you will most likely have to pay a late-enrollment fee for Part B. If you do get Part B, this fee will be even higher if you wait until another enrollment period to apply for it.

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