The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is also known as the Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare health and prescription drug plans. It’s also called the Fall Open Enrollment Period. This time period happens only once a year and runs from October 15 through December 7. 

If you miss the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, you might still be able to make Medicare coverage changes without waiting until next year. Here are some examples.

Qualify for other Special Enrollment Periods

There are several situations where you may be able to make coverage changes outside the Medicare Open Enrollment Period by qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Most of these situations involve losing your health-care coverage in one way or another. Here are a few examples of situations that might make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for a Medicare health or prescription drug plan or change plans.

  • You moved out of your plan’s service area.
  • You moved into, out of, or still live in a skilled nursing facility, or another institution such as a long-term care hospital.
  • You left your employer-based or union-based health insurance.
  • You used to be eligible for Medicaid, but now you’re not.
  • You just got out of jail.
  • You’re moving back to the United States after living outside the country.
  • Your plan is losing or ending its contract with Medicare.

Remember, these are just examples. If you experience any major changes to your plan, your coverage, or even your health, it might be worth checking with Medicare to see if you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to change your coverage.

Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare

You can do this between January 1 and March 31. However, you can generally make a change during this period only once. If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan, you can enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan during this time period.

Still have questions about whether you can get health insurance outside of the Medicare Open Enrollment window? You can count on us to help you understand your options. Call us toll free at (866) 235-8378 or click here to email us your name and phone number for us to call you.