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Joining a Health Plan

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you might choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and/or Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).


There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have.


You don’t need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, each year you’ll have a chance to review your coverage and change plans.



  • When you first get Medicare (Initial Enrollment Periods for Part C & Part D)

    • You are eligible to enroll for Medicare at age 65. Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is 7 months long. It includes the month you turn 65, the 3 months before, and the 3 months after. It begins and ends a month earlier if your birthday is the 1st day of the month. ​

  • During certain times each year (yearly enrollment periods for Part C & Part D)

    • Each year, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year. There are 2 separate enrollment periods each year:

    • Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage. January 1-March 31

    • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. October 15-December 7

  • Special Circumstances (Special Enrollment Period)

    • You  moved into a different service area

    • You lose your current coverage

    • You have Medicaid or Extra Help

    • You have a chronic health condition

    •  You're enrolling into a 5 star plan

    • You have a chance to get other coverage

    • Your plan changes its contract with Medicare

    • Other special circumstances

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