- When you first become eligible for Medicare or when you turn age 65, during your Initial Enrollment Period
- If you're newly eligible for Medicare because you're disabled and under age 65
- If you're already eligible for Medicare because of a disability, and you turn age 65.
- Under certain circumstances that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), such as the following:
- You move.
- You're eligible for Medicaid.
- You qualify for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs.
- You're getting care in an institution, such as a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital.
Changes to Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Periods Historically, Medicare provided two distinct Open Enrollment periods. Under the new Healthcare bill, however, there are some important changes to note:
For 2010 (the 2011 Plan Year), the Enrollment Period will still run from November 15 through December 31. But starting in 2011, the Enrollment Period will be changed to October 15 through December 7 ONLY.
Therefore, Open Enrollment will be shortened in 2011 to just those 45 days.
This means Medicare Advantage members will have only one chance to change their Advantage plan later this year, between November 15 and December 31. After January 1, 2011, they will be locked into their Advantage plan for 2011 — unless they decide to un-enroll and go back to Medicare.
In November this year, it will therefore be very important for seniors to review the materials they receive from their Medicare Advantage plan and decide whether they wish to make any changes.
NOTE: This section pertains specifically to Medicare Advantage (Part C) coverage. There are additional Medicare changes that can be made beyond those cited here in the time frames noted.