Medicare Advantage Enrollment

There are certain times where eligible people are able to enroll in Medicare. To learn about Medicare enrollment, continue reading. 

Who Is Eligible For Medicare

Medicare benefits are available to anyone above the age of 65 who has been a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident for at least the past five years. Medicare can also be acquired by people with qualifying disabilities. In order to get Medicare with a disability, in most cases, you must collect Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months. If you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or End-Stage Renal Disease, you can get benefits much sooner.

When To Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Advantage Part C enrollment is available to any eligible Medicare beneficiary enrolled in Original Medicare regardless of preexisting health conditions. Health conditions that may prevent someone from approval for a Medigap plan would not be a consideration for Medicare Advantage approval.

There are different dates and corresponding enrollment periods for Medicare eligibility as well as different periods and times for enrollment into a Medicare Advantage plan. We’ll be discussing when Medicare Advantage enrollments may occur.

  • ICEP – Initial Coverage Enrollment Period – This is your initial opportunity when you are turning 65 and enrolling into Medicare, to participate in a Medicare Drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage. This unique enrollment period provides a wide range of plan options under Medicare Part C. ICEP represents a starting period 3 months before your 65th birth month, includes your birth month and ends 3 months later than birth month. The total is a 7- month window or period. Plan effective date will start no sooner than your Part A and/or B effective date or the first of the month following your application date.
  • Annual Enrollment Period – allows for enrollment for a January 1st effective date when making application from Oct 15th – Dec 7th of each prior year, into a Medicare Advantage plan with/without drug plan. Enrollments can be for those who have never previously joined a Medicare Advantage plan or independent Medicare Rx plan or those wishing to change from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different MAPD plan. This period allows for flexibility to disenroll from their current Part C Medicare plan and return to Original Medicare. All changes made will be effective January 1st of the following year.
  • Open Enrollment Period begins January 1 – March 31st of each year. This is a period of time that allows Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries an opportunity to reevaluate their current plans and make the decision to either change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan, or go back to Original Medicare with or without a drug plan. If you make a switch or change to another plan or revert back to Original Medicare your new plan will begin the first day of the upcoming month. 
  • General Enrollment – This period occurs between January 1 and March 31. If you enroll during this period, your coverage will start on July 1. On July 1st you would then have a Special Enrollment period allowing you to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, Supplement and or an individual Rx drug plan.
  • Special Enrollment Periods – These periods of enrollment are only granted to people with specific qualifying life circumstances. Life happens and changes do occur whether it is income, resources, health conditions, move to a new area, gain/ loss Medicaid or one of many other events most people need immediate help. When a life changing, or predominant event occurs this will often trigger a special enrollment that would allow you to make a change into a plan that would best fit your needs. To determine what life circumstances are required to get a Special Enrollment Period, please contact you qualified Medicare specialist. We are here to help.
  • 5- Star Special Enrollment – Medicare tracks plan performance through member and provider surveys to get a plan star rating from 1 -5 stars. A superior excellent rating would be considered 5 stars. When a plan achieves this level, they can offer their Medicare Advantage or Rx Drug plan year-round to consumers who qualify based on service area and Medicare eligibility. Individuals can use this 5 Star Special Enrollment to switch from their current Medicare plan to the 5-star plan. This Special Enrollment Period is Medicare Company Plan driven and not driven by consumer circumstances.

Get Help With Enrollment

If you need assistance with applying for Medicare or enrolling your benefits, we can help.