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There are three enrollment periods.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)*:
Between October 15 and December 7, anyone can join, switch or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan. Your coverage will begin on January 1, as long as the plan gets your request by December 7.
Making changes to your coverage after December 7:
Between January 1 and February 14, 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 time, you'll have until February 14 to also join a Medicare prescription drug plan. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.
During this period, you can't do the following:
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP):
When you first become eligible for Medicare, you can join during the 7 month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65 and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP):
In most cases, you must stay enrolled for the calendar year starting the date your coverage begins. However, in certain situations, you may be able to join, switch or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan during a Special Enrollment Period. Below is a list of some, but not all, of these situations:
Contact your plan if any of these situations apply to you.
For more information, refer to the Medicare and You Handbook .
*Dates subject to change after January 1, 2016.