When can I join or switch my Medicare plan?

You can join or switch plans during certain times of the year. Since your health and finances may change from year to year, it’s smart to review your health care needs every year to see if you need to change to a plan that works better for your current needs. You can join or switch plans during the following times:

  • Initial Enrollment Period: You can enroll three months before you turn 65 (or 25th month of disability), during your birthday month (or 25th month of disability) and up to three months after your birthday (or 25th of disability).
  • Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7): During this period, you can enroll in or switch plans, including adding or dropping prescription drug coverage or switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare. Your new coverage will start on January 1 of the following year.
  • Special Election Period: If you qualify for Medicaid, “Extra Help” or meet other special circumstances, you may be eligible for this period. If you are eligible, you can add new coverage or make changes to your current coverage depending on your situation.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1-March 31): During this time, you have a one-time opportunity to switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different one. You can also drop your current plan and return to Original Medicare with the option to purchase a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.


last updated: August 18, 2022

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