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Important Dates to Know

Home / Medicare Basics / Important Dates to Know

All health insurance plans – whether it be an employer plan or a private plan or Medicare – have certain specified dates during which you can sign up for plans, make changes to plans, or leave plans. These dates are known as “enrollment periods”.

Outside of these enrollment periods, you must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period in order to make changes to your plan. Contact us to see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and take advantage of enrolling in a new plan!


Initial Election Period (IEP)

Also known as the Initial Enrollment Period. The period of time during which a person first becomes eligible for Medicare. The IEP typically refers to eligibility in Original Medicare, which is Part A and Part B. Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65, however some others become eligible due to disability or illness. The IEP for people who “age in” to Medicare eligibility takes place 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, and the 3 months following the month of your 65th birthday (seven months total).Initial Enrollment Period


Guaranteed Acceptance Period (GAP)

Medicare Supplement plans, also known as MediGap, also have an Initial Election Period which lasts 13 months (6 months before your 65 birthday + the month of your 65 birthday + 6 months after your 65 birthday). During the IEP is also the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan because there is a Guaranteed Issue, also known as Guaranteed Acceptance period. During the Medicare Supplement IEP, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan without having to go through medical underwriting.

In other words, during this time, you cannot be denied acceptance in a plan based on your health conditions. Contact My Medicare Partners for more information on your IEP and and how to enroll in a Medicare Supplement without missing your Guaranteed Issue period!



General Enrollment Period (GEP)

If you miss your Initial Election Period, you may sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the General Enrollment period, which runs January 1 – March 31 of each year. Coverage will begin on July 1 for people who enroll during the General Enrollment period.

General Enrollment Period


Annual Election Period

Also known as Open Enrollment, the Annual Election Period (AEP) takes place each year October 15 – December 7.  Allows you to enroll in, or change, a Part D Prescription Drug Plan or a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan. These plans become effective January 1 of the following year.  (Pre-Open Enrollment: October 1 – October 14 allows you to preview the available plans)

Annual Election Period


Annual Open Enrollment Period

During this period of time, Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D enrollees may disenroll from Medicare Advantage or their Part D drug plan and return to Original Medicare only. The MADP occurs each year from January 1 through March 31. These changes become effective the first day of the following month. It is important to work with a licensed Agent if disenrolling from a Plan to make sure you avoid any lapse in coverage. 


Special Enrollment Periods (SEP)

You may also qualify for Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) which allow you to make changes outside of the set dates and deadlines listed, if you experience certain events in your life. Examples of life events that may trigger an SEP include, but are not limited to, moving from one state to another or leaving your employer’s health coverage plan. Please contact us for more information and to see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period!Special Enrollment Period


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