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When you first become eligible for Medicare, you can join during 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 get Medicare due to a disability, you can join during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before your 25th month of disability and ends 3 months after your 25th month of disability.
Between October 15 and December 7, anyone 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.
Making changes to your coverage after December 7
Between January 1 and February 14, if you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare. If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you will have until February 14th to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.
During this period, you can’t do the following:
Special Enrollment Periods (SEP)
In most cases, you must stay enrolled for the 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 during a special enrollment period. Contact your plan if any of these situations apply to you:
Refer to the Medicare and You Handbook for more information.
SEP Trial Rights
SEP Trial Rights are available for people who have joined a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan for the first time. They can drop their MA plan and enroll in Original Medicare anytime within the first 12 months of their Medicare Advantage plan coverage. People are eligible for this trial right if they either:
The trial right allows them to disenroll from the MA plan during the first 12 months to join Original Medicare. They also have a guaranteed issue opportunity to purchase a Medigap (Medicare supplement insurance) policy.