There are definite times each year when Medicare beneficiaries may enroll or make changes to their Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug coverage. These periods are called Election Periods. If more than one election period applies, the individual must choose the election period.

The Initial Coverage Enrollment Period (ICEP) is for newly eligible individuals choosing to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with or without Part D coverage. This period spans a seven (7) month window which begins 3 months before the individual turns 65, the month he/she turns 65 , and the 3 months following. Only one enrollment choice during ICEP is allowed. If the newly eligible beneficiary does not enroll during this period, he/she will need to wait until the next qualifying election period.

The Annual Election Period (AEP) has changed for the 2012 plan year. It will now occur from October 15 through December 07 this year. During the AEP Medicare beneficiaries may make any changes (enroll or disenroll) regarding their coverage choices. Individuals may add or drop Medicare Advantage and/or prescription drug coverage or return to Original Medicare. No action is required if you decide to keep your current coverage. The last enrollment/change made will be the one to take effect on January 1.

  • If you enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan, you will automatically be disenrolled from your current Medicare Advantage plan.
  • If you voluntarily disenroll from your current Medicare Advantage plan, you will automatically be returned to the original Medicare program. You may enroll in another Medicare Advantage during this period.
  • If, for some reason, you choose to enroll in more than one Medicare Advantage plan, your last selection prior to the end of the AEP as determined by the date the plan’s carrier or the marketing broker receives your completed form, will be the plan that takes effect.
  • You may add or drop Part D coverge during this period.
  • You may enroll into an MSA Plan during this period.
  • Your effective coverage date will be January 1st.

A Special Election Period (SEP) is a time that a beneficiary can change Medicare plans or return to original Medicare. Common qualifying events that are considered “triggers” for SEPs include:

  • Change of residence
  • Change in Medicaid eligiblity
  • Full and partial dual-eligibility
  • Contract violation

During the SEP, an individual may discontinue enrollment in a Medicare Advantage pla, change to a different Mediare Advantage plan, or return to original Medicare coverage (except for MSA enrollees).

New for 2011 will be a Disenrollment Period running from 01-01-2011 through 02-14-2011. As a Medicare beneficiary, you may make one change to your Medicare benefits during this period. This “one election rule” applies to Medicare Advantage plan, or MA-Prescription Drug Plans. No action is required if you decide to keep your current plan.

If you disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan, you will automatically be returned to the Original Medicare plans. If you disenrolled from a Medicare Advantage plan with a PDP plan, you may select another stand-alone PDP plan.

  • If you voluntarily disenroll from your current Medicare Advantage plan, you will automatically be returned to the original Medicare program. You may not enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan for this period.
  • If you choose to enroll in a different Medicare Advantage plan, you will automatically be disenrrolled from your current Medicare Advantage plan. This will be your one and only election during the OEP.
  • You can not add or drop Part D coverage during this period.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare MSA Plan, you may not make any change during this period.
  • Your effective coverage date will be the first of the month following receipt of a completed enrollment form.

To enroll in Medicare, contact the Medicare office directly by calling 800-MEDICARE, or by going towww.medicare.gov.

Call us for help selecting the best plan for you. We will mail enrollment materials for the plan of your choice and a free Choosing a Medigap Policy guide.