| Fri, Sep 14, 2018 @ 08:30 AM

New to Medicare? Choosing Coverage for Next Year? Know These Key Dates.

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

When can you sign up for Medicare? When can you switch plans if your health needs have changed? Understanding Medicare’s enrollment periods helps you get the coverage you need when you need it!

The graphics below outline important dates you need to know. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, pay special attention to the second graphic. It describes a change for 2019.

If you’re signing up for Medicare for the first time, your enrollment window is unique to you and based on your birthday month. Here’s a guideline for what timeframe applies to you.









Once you’re enrolled in Medicare, there are set dates for when you are allowed to change your plan.

During the Annual Enrollment Period – Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 – all Medicare beneficiaries have the chance to choose plans for the following calendar year. This is the time for you to decide if your current plan fits your budget and your health needs.









The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is Jan. 1 through March 31.

In previous years, Medicare Advantage members had the option of dropping that coverage and going back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B), from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14.

Beginning in 2019, you have more options and more time to decide.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can take the following steps from Jan. 1 through March 31. Changes will be effective the first day of the following month.

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare (Parts A and B)
  • Sign up for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement plan, if you return to Original Medicare

Special Enrollment Periods are times when you can sign up for Medicare or change your plan if you qualify due to a life event like moving or retiring.

Learn more about enrollment windows and different coverage options during National Medicare Education Week.