This article was updated on January 30, 2019.
Parts A and B Special Enrollment Periods
For example, you may have an SEP if:
- Your work coverage has ended
- You were volunteering in a foreign country when you turned 65
- You were living overseas when you turned 65
- You have disability, ESRD, or ALS
Learn more about Part A and B sign up periods here.
Medicare Advantage and Part D Special Enrollment Periods
There are also special circumstances in which you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.
You may be eligible for an SEP if:
- You moved
- You moved back to the U.S. after living abroad
- You live in a skilled nursing facility
- You’re no longer eligible for Medicaid
- You no longer have employer coverage
- You qualify for Extra Help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage
- You qualify for a Special Needs Plan (SNP)
- You experience misleading marketing
- You want to enroll in a 5-star Medicare Advantage or Part D plan
This chart from the Medicare Rights Center covers all the Special Enrollment Periods for Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D that are available and what to do. Medicare’s website also covers many scenarios in which you might be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans.
General Enrollment Periods
If you do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, the general Medicare and Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods are as follows:
- Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) – The seven-month period when you are first eligible for Medicare. See the chart below to figure out your personal IEP.
- General Enrollment Period (GEP) – If you miss your initial enrollment, you can sign up for Medicare between January 1 and March 31 each year.
- Open Enrollment Period (OEP) – October 15 – December 7 each year. During this time you can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (with or without a Part D plan included), enroll in a Part D plan, disenroll from Part D, or switch Part D plans.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period – January 1 – March 31 each year. During this period, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan, leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, and enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan if needed.