Medicare Enrollment Periods
February 25, 2020 | by The Polyclinic

Medicare health plans change each year and your health needs often change too. That’s why it’s important to make an annual assessment of your health coverage. Whether you are already enrolled in a plan or first starting to look at your options, it’s important to know the different Medicare enrollment periods and what actions you are able to take during each period.

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a seven-month window beginning three months before through three months after your 65th birthday. This is your first opportunity to enroll in a Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan.

During IEP you can:

  • Enroll in Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan

Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15 to December 7. This is your annual window to make changes to your plan for the upcoming year. During this time The Polyclinic provides several resources to help you enroll, including onsite help desks, informational classes, and enrollment events.

During AEP you can:

  • Change from an Original Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
  • Switch from a plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to one that does or vice versa
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another
  • Drop the Medicare Prescription Drug plan

Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from January 1 to March 31. This period is primarily for those who have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to make changes. This time frame used to be the Annual Disenrollment Period (ADP) but it was replaced by OEP to give beneficiaries more options to ensure their plan is meeting their needs.

During OEP you can:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare

During OEP you can’t:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you’re currently on Original Medicare
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug plan to another if you’re on Original Medicare

Special Enrollment Periods (SEP)

Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) occur when certain qualifying events happen in your life. For instance, one may be when you move to a new service area. Or within the first 12 months of your first enrollment in an MA plan, you have a one-time opportunity to change back to a Medigap policy. Learn more about what qualifies as a special circumstance here.

For help with enrollment, talk to an unbiased Medicare specialist from Connexion Insurance Solutions, an independent agency at 1-877-217-3279 or maquestions@connexioninsurance.com.

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