2013 When to Sign Up for Medicare
The Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15th through December 7th.
You can sign up for a Healthfirst Medicare Advantage Plan during specific enrollment periods.
If you can’t find the answers you need below, or have other questions, feel free to Contact Us. We’re here to help you.
When to Sign Up for Medicare
The time when you can first apply for a Medicare plan is called the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP).
- If you’re turning 65 years old: You can apply when you first become eligible for Medicare: from 3 months before the month you turn age 65 until 3 months after the month you turn age 65.
For example: If your 65th birthday is June 15th, 2012, you can apply for Medicare any time between March and September 2012.
- If you get Medicare due to a disability: You can apply from 3 months before until 3 months after your 25th month of cash disability payments.
- For example: If you have been receiving cash disability payments since March 2011, you can apply for Medicare any time between December 2012 and July 2013.
If you are eligible for Medicare, you can apply for Medicare or switch plans during the Annual Enrollment Period. In 2012, the Annual Enrollment Period is October 15 - December 7, 2012.
- For example: You can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan (like Healthfirst 65 Plus HMO Plan) any time between October 15 - December 7, 2012. Your new plan coverage will be effective on January 1, 2013.
For a variety of reasons, you may be able to sign up for or change Medicare coverage at any time of the year. This is known as a Special Election Period (SEP). Below are situations that might qualify you for an SEP:
- You move permanently outside your plan’s service area.
- You’re enrolled in another prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan whose contract is ended.
- You are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (you are "dual eligible").
- You either recently qualified or no longer qualify for extra help paying for prescription drugs.
- You belong to a pharmacy assistance program provided by the state.
- You want to move from an employer-sponsored Prescription Drug Plan to a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Your enrollment or disenrollment is caused by an error by a federal employee or contractor hired by the federal government.
- You lose your previous coverage through no action of your own.
- You are approved for Medicare on a date after your Initial Election Coverage Period (ICEP).
- You want to leave your current Medicare Prescription Drug Plan because it was:
- Warned by the federal government; or
- The federal government has determined the plan broke its Medicare contract in relation to services provided to you.
- You’re enrolled in a plan that isn’t renewing its contract with Medicare. This SEP will last from October 1-December 31 of that year.
- You want to move from a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to an MA-PD.
- You live in — or are moving in or out of — one of the following:
- Skilled nursing facility
- Nursing facility
- Intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded
- Psychiatric hospital or unit
- Rehabilitation hospital or unit
- Long-term care hospital
- Swing-bed hospital
- You are not eligible for premium-free Part A and enroll in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period.
You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, such as a move or losing other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called Special Election Periods (SEPs). Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP. See the next question below for more details.
If you also have Medicaid coverage or get other extra help to pay for your health coverage, you can enroll, change, or drop Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage at any time.
Medicare beneficiaries can stop (or “disenroll from”) their Medicare Advantage program any time between January 1 - February 14. If you decide to disenroll, you must:
- Switch to Original Medicare;
- Select a Part D prescription drug plan if you are also disenrolling from a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MAPD).
All changes are effective the first day of the next month (February or March, depending on your disenrollment date).