Medicare Special Enrollment Period
A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) allows you to join, change or drop a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or prescription drug (Part D) plan outside of Medicare Open Enrollment in certain situations, such as when you move. These situations are called a “qualifying events.”
In general, you have 2 full months after the month of a qualifying event to make plan changes.
Some common events that may qualify for this Special Enrollment Period include:
- You’re moving outside your current Medicare plan’s service area.
- You’re moving within your current plan’s service area, but you have new plan options.
- You’re moving into or out of an institution.
- You’re leaving retiree, union or COBRA coverage.
- You’re losing creditable drug coverage.
- Your current Medicare plan stops servicing your area.
Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period
- The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period gives you a chance to leave a Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare. This time period happens every year, January 1 – February 14. You may use it to change plans only if you have a Medicare Advantage plan.
- If you go back to Original Medicare at this time, you may enroll in a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan until February 14 as well. Drug coverage is not provided with Original Medicare. You may incur a premium penalty if you don’t enroll in a Part D plan at this time and decide you want to later.
- You may also want to consider adding a Medicare supplement insurance plan to help with some costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay, like deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. Note that you may not have a guaranteed right to buy a plan at this time. You could be charged more or denied coverage. Be sure to check the laws in your state.