The timeframe when you are eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan is called Medicare enrollment period. There are lots of time-windows when you can enroll in a new plan or switch one plan to another. Getting-rid of all the confusion , you need to read the whole article. There are 6 different time windows which are

  • Initial enrollment period for original medicare(part A and B)
  • General Enrollment Period for Original Medicare
  • Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare C and D
  • Open Election Period for Medicare Advantage (part C)
  • Medicare supplement open enrollment period.
  • Special Enrollment Period

When You are around your 65 age then you automatically sign-up medicare plan A and B if you meet the right criteria. In case you are not enrolled yourself in the right time you may be penalized for late enrollment. 

Initial enrollment:-  

Medicare enrollment period
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It is a 7 months time-window that starts 3 months before you turn 65, including your birth month, it ends 3 month after your birth. Those 7 months(3+1+3) are called the initial enrollment period. It is the right time to enroll yourself. In this time period you can enroll yourself such a plans like:- 

Enroll in original Medicare which is Medicare part A and B. 

Enroll in a medicare part D which is prescription drugs coverage only. 

Enroll yourself for medicare part C that medicare advantage plan.

General Enrollment Period for Original Medicare :-  

you can also enroll yourself for original medicare between January 1 to 31 March every year. You only get this option if you meet such criteria which is 

If you are not qualify for special enrollment period

You did not enroll yourself after your first eligibility.

After all the procedures your coverage will start  on july 1. 

Annual enrollment period:-

In this time you may not be able to sign-up yourself for original medicare but you can change or switch your current plan. This time period starts from October 15 to December 7. This time you can get a chance of 

If you have an original medicare subscription, then you can switch it to medicare advantage plan(part C) or vice-versa. 

You can join or drop medicare part D which is prescription drug coverage

You can switch to a medicare advantage plan with drug coverage or vice-versa. 

You can update your current insurance plan.

If you change your plan during this period your current plan will start from January 1.

Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage:-

This period starts from January 1 through March 31 in every year. In this time you will get the following benefits:- 

Discontinued from your Medicare Advantage plan.

Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another plan.

You can enroll only in medicare part D (prescription drug coverage). If you don’t have enrollment of medicare part C then it is only time to get stand-alone Medicare part D

 Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period 

If you want to enroll yourself for medicare supplement plan along with original medicare coverage then you have to enroll for this time called Medicare supplement open enrollment period. It starts from the 1st day of your birth month of age 65 and ends after 5 month. This 6 months you should enroll yourself to avoid any penalties. In this time you get a chance to enroll part B as well. 

Special Enrollment Period:- 

This is only for those who are eligible for the plan. Who are eligible for it are easily able to join,switch or drop a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan. If you have the following conditions you are able to do it. 

If you are working for the company and they provide you a health plan then you aren’t able to receive a medicare plan. You need to wait for a while. 

If you resign from your job and refuse to take a health plan from the company you worked for then you get 8 months of time to get enrolled for medicare. If you don’t enroll yourself right time then you need to pay penalties for late enrollment

Here mentioned all the periods when you can join medicare without any additional cost. If you are late to enroll yourself for the plan then you have to pay additional cost as a penalty.