When Can I Enroll in Medicare Advantage? – Frequently Asked Questions

Tamera Jackson by Tamera Jackson | Licensed since 2007
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This article was updated on: 10/29/2018

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What is Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage is another way to get your Medicare benefits through a private insurance company. Medicare Advantage plans usually combine your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage ) in one convenient plan. Hospice care is still covered by Medicare Part A.

When can I enroll in Medicare Advantage?

There are generally two times that you can get a Medicare Advantage plan.

Initial Enrollment Period:

The first time is called your Initial Enrollment Period(IEP). During this time you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Your Initial Enrollment Period lasts seven months. It begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and continues three months after you turn 65. If you qualify for Medicare through a disability, you also have a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. This period begins during one of the three  months before you first get Medicare, continues during your 25th month of getting disability, and ends 3 months after your 25th month of getting disability.

You are generally eligible to enroll in Medicare Advantage if

  • You live in the plan’s service area
  • You have Medicare Part A and Part B
  • You don’t have end-stage renal disease (ESRD). (If you have ESRD you might qualify for a special needs plan which is a type of Medicare Advantage plan)

Open Enrollment Period:

If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period and later want to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or you want to switch Medicare Advantage plans after your Initial Enrollment Period is over, you can utilize the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription drug coverage. The Open Enrollment Period is from October 15 to December 7 every year. During this Open Enrollment Period you can:

  • Change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage
  • Change from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans

Learn more about Medicare enrollment periods.

Do you have more questions about signing up for Medicare Advantage?

I can help you understand your options and get enrolled. To learn more about my background as a licensed insurance agent and why I enjoy helping people with Medicare, see my profile using the “View profile” link below. I’m happy to set aside time for a phone discussion or send you an email containing plans that could work for you; the links for those are below, too. To start comparing Medicare Advantage plans now, click the Compare Plans buttons on this page.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

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