Medicare has specific times of the year when you can enroll in, change, or cancel your coverage. Here are a few important dates to keep in mind as you begin the process with Medicare.
October 1: Next Year’s Plans Released Publicly
Medicare Advantage and Part D plans for the next year are released. The private insurance companies that provide these plans publish the premium prices and coverage details for the following year on this date. This is the first day Medicare Choice Group will be able to discuss changes and help you decide whether to switch plans.
October 15 – December 7: Annual Enrollment Period
This is the time period during which you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Whichever plan you are enrolled in at the end of this period will be the plan you have for the next year. If you’re wondering why you would want to change your plan, read this article about the importance of re-evaluating your plan from year to year.
January 1: New Coverage Period Begins
Any changes made to your Medicare plan during the Annual Enrollment Period go into effect at the beginning of the following year and coverage for the year begins on January 1.
January 1 – March 31: Open Enrollment Period
During this time period, you can drop your Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in Original Medicare or into a different Medicare Advantage plan. Part D plans will also be available to enroll in, but Medicare Supplement plans may or may not be available to enroll in at this time. If you are in Original Medicare, you cannot do the opposite and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during this time period (Jan 1 - March 31). Learn more about enrollment periods here.
Seven-Month Initial Enrollment Period Tied to your Birthday
The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and continues for the three months following your birthday month. It’s important to enroll during this period or you may face penalties for the rest of your life. Find out how to delay enrollment if you are still working at 65 in this article. If you filed to receive Social Security benefits before you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Parts A and B of Medicare on your 65th birthday.
While these are the important dates, there are a few other technicalities about Medicare that are good to know. For more information, check out other articles or reach out to a licensed Medicare agent today.