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Beyond your initial opportunity to enroll in Medicare plans, the federal government provides other windows for enrollment each year.

2019 Medicare enrollment dates at a glance

A guide to the most important dates for enrolling in – or changing – Medicare coverage

Key points

2019 Medicare premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costsIf you’re enrolling in Medicare for the first time, there’s a fairly straightforward process – and timeline – for enrollment. (Here’s what you need to know about enrolling for the first time.)

But beyond that first opportunity to enroll in Medicare plans, the federal government provides other windows for enrollment: annual opportunities to enroll if you’ve delayed your enrollment for some reason, or to change your coverage if you’ve already enrolled.

Here’s a quick guide to the times when you can enroll in – or change – Medicare coverage during the course of 2019.

2019 Medicare open enrollment period (Medicare Advantage & Part D)

Dates: October 15, 2019 – December 7, 2019; changes effective January 2020

Enrollment / plan change options:

Learn more about the Medicare open enrollment period.

Five-star enrollment period (Special enrollment for five-star plans)

Dates:

  • December 8, 2018 – November 30, 2019
  • December 8, 2019 – November 30, 2020

Enrollment / plan change options:

During this annual special enrollment period, you can join or switch to a five-star Medicare Advantage plan or Part D drug plan if you live in an area where a five-star plan is available.

Learn more about the Five-star enrollment period.

Medicare Advantage open enrollment

Dates: January 1 – March 31

Enrollment / plan change options:

  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare plus a Part D plan
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • You can only make one change during this open enrollment period (as opposed to the fall enrollment period when you can change your mind multiple times if necessary)

Learn more about Medicare Advantage open enrollment.

Part A / Part B general enrollment period

Dates: January 1 – March 31, 2019

Enrollment / plan change options:

  • General enrollment for Part B – for people who didn’t sign up when they were first eligible. A late enrollment penalty may apply.
  • Part A general enrollment period – for people who have to pay premiums for Medicare Part A and didn’t sign up when first eligible (late enrollment penalty may apply).
  • Beneficiaries who enroll in Medicare Parts A and B during the general enrollment period then have three months (April through June) to enroll in a Part D plan to supplement their coverage, OR to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Access to Medigap plans will vary depending on state laws.

Learn more about Medicare Part A.

Learn more about Medicare Part B.


Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.

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