Who Can Enroll in Medicare Advantage

We break down all the details of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan for you.
Who Can Enroll in Medicare Advantage

Enrollment in Medicare and its benefits might be confusing. Understanding the Medicare enrollment dates is crucial if you have Medicare eligibility now or are getting close to that age. It can be beneficial to join as soon as you are qualified to avoid paying a high late enrollment fee.You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan as soon as you are eligible to sign up for Original Medicare. Prior to signing up for Medicare Advantage, you must first enroll in Original Medicare.## Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)You may be able to enroll for the first time during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period. During your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.**The duration of your Initial Enrollment Period is seven months:*** It starts three months before your 65th birthday.* It includes the month of your birth.* It continues for three months after your birth month.> **Note:** Within the first three months of receiving Medicare, if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, you have the option to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare.## Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the yearly Fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period if you decide not to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or stand-alone Medicare prescription medication coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period (AEP).This time frame always runs from October 15 to December 7. During this enrollment period for Medicare Advantage you can: * Change to a Medicare Advantage plan from Original Medicare.* Change to Original Medicare from a Medicare Advantage plan.* Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another regardless of if they have drug coverage.* Enroll or drop a standalone prescription drug plan.These changes will take effect on January 1st. Remember you have to already be enrolled in Medicare parts A and B.## Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment PeriodEvery year, from January 1 to March 31, there is an open enrollment period for those already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. You can change Medicare Advantage plans during this time, or you can leave a Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Original Medicare. This period is basically set aside for those that would still like to make changes to their Medicare Advantage plan.Choose carefully because you can only change your healthcare coverage one time during this period. If you don't qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you cannot make any modification after that one until the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.Any changes that are made during this enrollment will start on the first of the next month. No changes can be made after the March 31ts midnight deadline. If you miss this time frame you cannot make changes until the next Medicare open enrollment period that runs from October 15th through December 7th.## Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP)Generally speaking, if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must continue with it for the full calendar year beginning on the day your coverage starts. You may, however, be eligible to join, switch, or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan during a Special Enrollment Period in specific circumstances, such as:* You relocated to a new location outside the coverage region of your current Medicare Advantage plan.* You left your employers coverage* Medicare ended your current medicare advantage plans contract* You enrolled in a special needs plan and no longer have a condition that qualifies as a special need that the plan serves.There are many more exceptions that can qualify you for a special enrollment period and each case is different. Get with your agent to go over all of your options.---**Contineu Learning:** [What is Medicare Part D](/medicare/basics/what-is-medicare-part-d)