Enrolling in Medicare Advantage Plans is possible only at few time periods. It is a must that you know about the coverage period. Firstly, it is the Initial Coverage Election period that starts instantly before three months you are entitled to Parts A and B Medicare. This ends in the last day prior to you having Part A and B Medicare or on the last day of Initial enrollment period of Part B, whichever is later.
In case, you have Traditional Medicare enrolled during the IEP Medicare initial period of enrollment or it fortunately has the same time for both, Initial enrollment and Initial coverage election period. This also may happen automatically. This initial period of enrollment start prior to your65th birthday month and continues after the birthday month for 3 months. Thus you can enjoy seven months availability for enrolment.
If you failed to sign for Traditional Medicare in the IEP time and this was because you have health insurance from the work place such as union or employer, then your period for the initial coverage election is the period of 3 months before the Part B Medicare start date. For instance, getting Part B Medicare enrolled in the General enrollment period that is during January 1- March 31, means the start date for Part B will be July 1.
The AEP, Annual election period is every year from 15 October to 7 December. This is the time you can switch from Traditional Medicare at this time to Medicare Advantage plans. In fact, doing so is really good during this period. Changing the plans of Medicare in this period refers to getting your coverage right from the following year beginning from January 1.
Nevertheless, in some case, changing Medicare Advantage plans is possible during the SEPs, the Special Election Periods. The situations qualifying for these include:
- Moving to new place, address
- Changes in current plan affecting health benefits
- Qualifying for more coverage
- Losing current coverage
Getting enrolled in MA plans and desiring to switch back to Traditional Medicare Parts A and B, can be done during the AEP or during 1st January to 14th February, every year during the period of disenrollment of Medicare Advantage plans.
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There are advantages in Medicare Advantage plans, but knowing the right time of enrollment and if required switching of plans time period is essential. You can also check the plans available in your area by comparing plans.