If you are eligible for Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan may be an option for you. You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during certain times of the year.

Initial enrollment period: This is a seven month-period that includes three months before the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65 and the three months after the month you turn 65. You can also be eligible for Medicare through disability, so you do not have to be 65.  Annual enrollment period: This is October 15 to December 7 each year.

Special enrollment period: These are times when you may qualify to enroll due to special circumstances. Some examples:

  • You move outside of the service area for your current plan.
  • You have both Medicare and Medicaid, or assistance from the state.
  • You have extra help from Medicare to pay your prescription drug costs.
  • You are entering or leaving a long-term care facility (like a nursing home).
  • You are leaving coverage from an employer or union.

Medicare Advantage plans are one way that Medicare beneficiaries can receive coverage for medical services. These plans provide all of the benefits covered by Medicare and often offer extra coverage for services not normally covered by Medicare, such as prescription drugs, routine vision, and dental care.

Individuals enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan still pay their Medicare Part B premium (unless it is paid for on their behalf by another entity, such as Medicaid or state assistance), and they may pay a premium for the Medicare Advantage plan, but not all Medicare Advantage plans have a premium.

For more information about how to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, visit www.medicare.gov. You can also call 1‑800‑MEDICARE (1‑800‑633‑4227), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TTY users should call 1‑877‑486‑2048.

Editor’s Note: Thanks, Peoples Health, for this explanation regarding Medicare Enrollment Periods.