During the Annual Coordinated Election Period, which runs from October 15 through December 7 each year, you can:
- change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare;
- change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan;
- switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan;
- switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage;
- switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not offer drug coverage;
- join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan;
- switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan; or,
- drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
During this period from January 1 through March 31, beneficiaries enrolled in private managed care plans (known as Medicare Advantage) may leave their plan and return to Original Medicare or switch to another Medicare Advantage plan. Beneficiaries who choose to leave a private plan for traditional Medicare may join Medicare Parts A and B, and they have the option of joining a stand-alone Part D plan during this period.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
There are special time periods during which you may join or change Part D plans outside the ones specified above. Some examples of reasons you might qualify for an SEP include if you:
- move out of your plan’s service area;
- lose your non-employer drug coverage (such as your State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program or SPAP) through no fault of your own;
- lose your employer (current or retiree) coverage for any reason;
- are eligible for the low-income Extra Help subsidy;
- enter, reside in or leave a long-term care facility;
- lose full Medicaid coverage; or,
- enroll in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
In many of the above cases, if you had drug coverage comparable to Part D, you will be given 63 days to enroll in a Part D plan before a penalty applies. Seniors in long-term care settings can change plans once a month while they remain in a facility. Once you leave, you have 63 days to enroll in a plan without penalty.