You can only join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan during the three enrollment periods described below:
1. Enrollment Period - When you first become eligible for Medicare, you can sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period. For many, this is the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. If you’re under 65 and have a disability, you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months. If you sign up during the first 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, in most cases, your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month. However, if your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage will start the first day of the prior month. If you enroll the month you turn 65 or during the last 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, your start date for coverage will be delayed.
2. General Enrollment Period - If you have Part A coverage and you get Part B for the first time during this period (between January 1—March 31 each year), you can also join a Medicare Advantage Plan. Your coverage may not start until July 1.
3. Annual Open Enrollment Period - Between October 15—December 7, anyone with Medicare can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan. Your coverage will begin on January 1 (as long as the plan gets your request by December 7).