In addition to when you first join Medicare, you can also enroll during:
Annual election period
Occurs: Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 each year
During this enrollment period:
- You can join, switch or leave any Medicare Advantage plan.
- You may return to Original Medicare and buy a Medicare Part D stand-alone plan (PDF, 175.33KB).
- Your changes take effect Jan. 1.
Medicare Advantage open enrollment period
Occurs: Jan. 1 through March 31 each year
If you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan on Jan. 1, you can:
- Change to a different Medicare Advantage plan
- Leave your Medicare Advantage plan to join Original Medicare
- Add or drop Medicare Part D when switching plans
However, you cannot switch from one stand-alone prescription drug plan to another stand-alone prescription drug plan.
Any changes you make, take effect the first day of the month after your request.
Special enrollment period
Some people, such as those with Medicaid (www.dshs.wa.gov) or Extra Help (www.ssa.gov), a change in where they live, a change in their current health insurance, or whose plan is leaving Medicare, may switch plans before the annual election period.