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Do you know when to enroll?

Figuring out when you should enroll in a Medicare plan, and which one you should choose, can be difficult. We're here to help with information about plan types and enrollment periods.

When you turn 65, provided you are no longer working...
If you don't know when your Medicare Part A or B coverage starts...
If you are still working at the age of 65 (or older)...
If your Medicare Part A or B coverage has not yet begun...
 

Enrollment Period Options

If you have been eligible for Medicare for a while, but have not yet enrolled because you were working or covered by an employer-sponsored plan, you have different options as far as enrollment periods:

Annual Election Period

(October 15 - December 7)


During this period, you can:

  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or prescription drug plan
  • Disenroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement Plan
  • Change your Medicare Advantage Plan, prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement Plan
  • Return to Original Medicare
  • Stay with your current plan

Any enrollments or changes made during this period are effective on January 1 of the following year.

Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

(January 1 - February 14)


During this period, you can:

  • Leave a Medicare Advantage Plan to return to Original Medicare
  • Enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan (if you return to Original Medicare)

During this period, you are not able to switch between prescription drug plans of Medicare Advantage plans.

Lock-In Period

(February 15 - October 14)


During this period, you are not able to change anything about your Medicare coverage, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You can instead change your coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period, listed to the left, and changes will take effect on January 1 of the following year.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

You qualify for a Special Enrollment (SEP) when you have one of the extenuating circumstances listed below. If you qualify for an SEP, you can make changes to your coverage during that SEP because of those circumstances.

Qualifying events that may lead to an SEP include:

  • Coverage ending on an employer-sponsored health plan
  • Becoming eligible for Medicare or Medicaid
  • Making a permanent move of residence or entering a nursing home
  • Low income qualification
  • Losing existing prescription drug coverage involuntarily

Enrollment due to San Diego County wildfires

There is a Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP) until March 31, 2018 for San Diego County residents affected by the recent wildfires. During this open enrollment period you can review your current Medicare coverage and make any changes for the following year. In addition, you can join, switch or drop your Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or prescription drug plan.

LEARN MORE ➜

Sharp Direct Advantage is offered by Sharp Health Plan. Sharp Direct Advantage is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Sharp Direct Advantage depends on contract renewal. Read the full disclaimer.

H5386_2018 Website Rev1 Approved 1/29/2018

Page Last Updated: 1/16/2018
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