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Enrollment periods for Medicare Advantage/Part D

Enrollment periods for Medicare Advantage/Part D

These enrollment periods apply only to Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare-approved prescription drug plans. You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan anytime, but the best time is during your initial enrollment period because you are guaranteed approval in your initial enrollment period. Most Medicare Supplement plans require underwriting if you are not in a guaranteed issue election period.

You're eligible for Original Medicare if you or your spouse paid into Social Security for at least 10 years through employment, you are a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., and you are age 65 or older.

The full Social Security retirement age varies based on the year you were born (age 66 for those born 1943 to 1954), but you're eligible for Medicare at age 65. You do not have to be retired to enroll. If you'll have employer-provided health coverage at age 65, contact your benefits administrator (typically part of your human resources department) to find out how Medicare will work with your current coverage.

  • Initial enrollment period
    When to enroll
    • Initial enrollment period (if you're turning 65 and starting Medicare): You can enroll in Part A and Part B at one of several different times: 3 months prior to your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, or three months after it. If you enroll prior to your birth month, coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn age 65. For example, if your birthday is January 15 and you enroll in December, your coverage will begin January 1.
    • Special enrollment period (if you're over 65 and starting Medicare): If you delayed Part B enrollment when you were first eligible (such as while covered under your or your spouse’s employer-provided or union plan), you can use the Part B special enrollment period. You’ll have an 8-month enrollment window that begins when your employer or union coverage ends or when employment ends, whichever is first. If you're 65 and will have COBRA coverage on an employer’s policy, you MUST sign up for Part B during the first 8 months you have COBRA to avoid a late enrollment penalty. You won't be eligible for a special enrollment period.
    • General enrollment period (if you don’t enroll during the initial or special enrollment periods): This runs from January through March 31 of each year. Plan coverage begins July 1.

    Plan Satisfaction

    Beneficiaries who enroll in a Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage plan during the IEP can disenroll at any time within the first 12 months of coverage and return to Original Medicare and enroll in a prescription drug plan. This also allows you to enroll for a Medicare Supplement insurance policy without medical underwriting.

    Additionally, the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) runs January 1 to February 14 each year. It allows you to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and choose Original Medicare—and, if you wish, a Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

  • Annual enrollment period (October 15 – December 7)

    The annual enrollment period (AEP) is the time each year when you can choose which kind of Medicare Advantage coverage you want to enroll in effective January 1 of the following year.
    For example, if you want to change Medicare Advantage plans because your needs have changed, or if you decide to change from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, you may do so during this period. Coverage takes effect on January 1 of the following year.

  • Special enrollment period

    There are a number of circumstances under which an individual is eligible for a special enrollment period, such as:

    • If you have both Medicare and Medicaid
    • If you have recently moved to a new area or your current plan was terminated
    • If you lose coverage through an employment-based group health plan

    To find out if you’re eligible for a special enrollment period, call us at 1-855-339-5205 (TTY/TDD: 711).

© 2020 Premera Blue Cross is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association serving businesses and residents of Alaska and Washington state, excluding Clark County. Premera Blue Cross is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Premera Blue Cross depends on contract renewal. ATTENTION: If you speak Spanish, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 888-850-8526 (TTY: 711), April 1 - September 30, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; October 1 - March 31, 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.To join a Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B and live in the Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage service area (Cowlitz, Island, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Lewis, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Walla Walla, and Whatcom counties in Washington). Members must select a Primary Care Provider (PCP) from the Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Plans provider network. For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings, call 888-868-7767 (TTY/TDD: 711), April 1 - September 30, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; October 1 - March 31, 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Last Updated 10-01-2020


Plan A 021190 (06-2010); 021194 (06-2010); Plan N 021191 (06-2010); 021195 (06-2010); Plan F 021192 (06-2010); 021196 (06-2010); High Deductible Plan F 021193 (06-2010); 021197 (06-2010); Plan G 042193 (01-2018); 042194 (01-2018); High Deductible Plan G 049578 (01-2020).