You may join, switch or drop Medicare Advantage Plans only during Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods. People who either have Medicare and Medicaid, or qualify for Extra Help are an exception from this rule because they can switch plans every month.
Normally Medicare Advantage enrollment is on a calendar year basis, starting the date your coverage begins.
Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods
Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) occurs simultaneously with the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). IEP is a 7-month period that begins 3 months before you turn 65, or 3 months before your 25th month of disability. It is used to enroll in Medicare Parts C and D, and includes the 3 months before, the month of, and the 3 months after the triggering event, such as turning age 65. Unlike an IEP, ICEP ends either the last day of the month before you are enrolled in both Parts A and B, OR the last day of the IEP – whichever is later. Therefore, if you are signed up for both Part A and Part B during the IEP, your ICEP is identical to the IEP. However, if you have delayed Part B enrollment, your ICEP ends just before your Part B begins. This is obviously confusing – please contact us for clarification.
If your plan became effective, you may not make another ICEP election even if ICEP has not expired.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs between October 15 and December 7. Your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year. You may switch between Medicare Advantage plans. You also may switch from the Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare, or from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage plan. Be careful in considering joining Medicare only plan (MA) from another plan (Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare) with Part D coverage. You’ll lose the existing Part D coverage. Also, if you are in the Medicare Advantage plan with Prescription Drug Coverage (MAPD) and you decide to join the standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), you’ll be disenrolled from your MAPD plan and return back to Original Medicare.
You may make more than one election during the AEP. Your final election during that period is the one that counts.
Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) runs between January 1 and February 14. You can disenroll from your current Medicare Advantage plan, but only return to Original Medicare. You may not switch to other Medicare Advantage plans. You can also select a PDP for Part D coverage.
In certain situations you may be eligible for a Special Election Period (SEP) which allows you to make changes in your coverage outside of Medicare Advantage enrollment periods described above. Examples of SEP include: you’ve moved out of the service area, you are qualified for an Extra Help, you have both Medicare and Medicaid, etc.
Let Liberty Medicare Help you
Our services are offered at no cost to you. If you are considering a Medicare Advantage Plan, let us help you.
Contact us with your Medicare Questions, or give us a call at 877-657-7477, and you will be connected to a licensed agent/broker.