What is a special enrollment period?

Who is this for?


If you're looking to make changes to your plan, you may be able to do it during a special enrollment period. This explains some of the circumstances that allow you to switch plans outside of the regular enrollment times.

You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life. These chances to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods. But when you can make these changes and the types of changes you can make are different for each Special Enrollment Period.

Who's eligible?

Here are the most common times when you are eligible to end your membership during a Special Enrollment Period. There's a more complete list of situations on the Medicare website.

  • Losing your current coverage, like from an employer or union
  • When you have moved out of the service area of your plan
  • If you have Medicaid
  • If you are eligible for Extra Help with paying for your Medicare prescriptions
  • If you live in a nursing home or similar facility

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can change both your Medicare health coverage and prescription drug coverage. You can choose any of the following types of plans:

  • Another Medicare Advantage plan (You can choose a plan that covers prescription drugs or one that does not cover prescription drugs.)
  • Original Medicare with a Medicare prescription drug plan
  • Original Medicare without a Medicare prescription drug plan