If you want to enroll in a Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plan, you can only do so during specific times:
- You are new to Medicare – Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): This is the 7-month period when you are first eligible for Medicare. After you enroll in Parts A & B, you can choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
- You have enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B already – Open Enrollment Period (OEP): Each year between October 15th and December 7th, you can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice versa.
Be aware that if you have Original Medicare with a Medigap/Medicare Supplement policy and you switch to Medicare Advantage, you most likely will not be able to get a Medigap policy again if you switch back.
The date your coverage starts depends on the period in which you enroll.Remember not to drop your existing coverage, if any, until your coverage with your Medicare Advantage plan has started.