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Medicare Enrollment Periods 

There are various times when you can enroll in, make changes to, or dis-enroll from an existing Medicare Advantage plan. You can:

  • Enroll when you first become eligible for Medicare, called your Initial Coverage Enrollment Period (ICEP).
  • Enroll during the Annual Election Period (AEP), which occurs from October 15 to December 7 of every year.
  • Make certain changes to coverage during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) from January 1–March 31 each year.
  • Enroll when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or you lose other insurance coverage, called a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

Some additional times to enroll, make changes, or cancel may apply to you. Visit www.medicare.gov to learn more.

You can also call our licensed Medicare agents at (866) 350-2715 (TTY 711) who can help guide you through the entire enrollment process.

Initial Coverage Enrollment Period (ICEP)

Most likely, if you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. You will receive your Original Medicare benefits starting the first day of the month you turned 65. You may also enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) or Medicare Advantage Prescription (MAPD) Plan during your Initial Coverage Enrollment Period (ICEP).

The Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) is when a person who is new to Medicare can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) with or without prescription drug coverage (Part D). This period begins three months immediately before the individual’s first entitlement to both Medicare Part A and Part B and ends on the later of:

  1. The last day of the month preceding entitlement to both Part A and Part B, or;
  2. The last day of the individual’s Part B initial enrollment period. The initial enrollment period for Part B is the seven (7) month period that begins 3 months before the month an individual meets the eligibility requirements for Part B, and ends 3 months after the month of eligibility.

The time and length of your ICEP depends on whether or not you delay your Part B enrollment. If you delay your Part B because you have creditable coverage past age 65, your ICEP begins 3 months before you enroll in Part B and ends the last day of the month before your Part B coverage starts.

Once an ICEP enrollment request is made and enrollment takes effect, the ICEP election has been used.

Note that there may be a late enrollment penalty (LEP) if you do not enroll in Part D during your IEP. Visit www.medicare.gov to learn more and find out when you’re eligible for Medicare.

Annual Election Period (AEP)

If you are eligible for Medicare and/or would like to enroll in, change or dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) Plan, you may make such changes during the Annual Election Period (AEP), which runs from October 15 to December 7 of every year. Your benefits will begin on January 1 of the following year.

During the AEP, you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage:

  • You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
  • You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
  • And if you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the AEP, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.

Call our licensed Medicare agents at (866) 350-2715 (TTY 711) to learn more about our Memorial Hermann Advantage HMO plans.

Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

From January 1 – March 31 each year, you have the opportunity to switch back to Original Medicare or change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan.  During this Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP), you can:

  • Switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage), if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage),
  • Drop your current Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare. You’ll also be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

During this period, you will not be able to:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, if you’re in Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another if you’re in Original Medicare.

Note that you can only make one change during this period.  Any changes you make will be effective the first of the month after the plan gets your request.   If you’re returning to Original Medicare and joining a drug plan, you don’t need to contact your Medicare Advantage Plan to dis-enroll.  The disenrollment will happen automatically when you join the drug plan.

To learn more, visit www.medicare.gov.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

You may be able to enroll in, make changes to, or dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D drug coverage if you qualify during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Below are some examples (but is not a comprehensive list) of Special Enrollment Periods:

  • If you just moved back to the U.S. after living outside the country.
  • If you move out of your plan's service area.
  • If you have both Medicare and Medicaid.
  • If you qualify for "extra help".
  • If you were released from jail.
  • If other special circumstances (such as relocation, FEMA emergencies, loss of coverage or when your employment coverage ends).

To learn more about whether you qualify under a special circumstance, visit www.medicare.gov.

Disenrollment Information

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