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special election period

What is a special election period?

What is a special election period?

A special election period, also known as a special enrollment period, is a period during which Medicare beneficiaries can change their Medicare Advantage or Part D coverage outside of the normal annual open enrollment period and after their initial enrollment period has ended.

A special election period will be triggered by a qualifying event, which can include a move from the area covered by a recipient’s existing Medicare plan, loss of other coverage, a violation of policy terms by a plan provider or other reasons approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

There are special election periods for Medigap as well (known as “guaranteed issue rights”), but they’re more limited, and Medigap does not have an annual open enrollment period.

Learn more in our full overview of special enrollment periods that apply to various types of Medicare coverage.

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