Joining a health or drug plan

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you might choose a 

 and/or 

.

There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have.

You don’t need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, each year you’ll have a chance to review your coverage and change plans.

Find and compare plans in your area.

When you first get Medicare (Initial Enrollment Periods for Part C & Part D)

What can I do?

Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

When?

During the 7-month period that:

  • Starts 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
If you join Your coverage begins
During one of the 3 months before you turn 65 The first day of the month you turn 65
During the month you turn 65 The first day of the month after you ask to join the plan
During one of the 3 months after you turn 65 The first day of the month after you ask to join the plan

What can I do?

Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Your Medicare coverage begins 24 months after you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) disability benefits.

When?

During the 7-month period that:

  • Starts 3 months before your 25th month of getting Social Security or RRB disability benefits
  • Includes your 25th month of getting disability benefits
  • Ends 3 months after your 25th month of getting disability benefits
If you join Your coverage begins
During one of the 3 months before you first get Medicare The first day of your 25th month of entitlement to disability payments
During your 25th month of getting disability The first day of the month after you ask to join the plan
During one of the 3 months after your 25th month of getting disability The first day of the month after you ask to join the plan

What can I do?

  • Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from your current Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another plan.
  • Drop a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan completely.

When?

During the 7-month period that:

  • Starts 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time, you can drop that plan any time during the next 12 months and go back to 

.

What can I do?

Sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

When?

April 1–June 30

What can I do?

Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage).

When?

April 1–June 30

During certain times each year (yearly enrollment periods for Part C & Part D)

Each year, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year. There are 2 separate enrollment periods each year:

What can I do?

  • Change from to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

When?

October 15–December 7

Enrollment Period

Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

What can I do?

  • If you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare.
  • If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you can also add Medicare drug coverage. You'll have until February 14 to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.

What can't I do?

When?

January 1–February 14