by Lauren Mandel
If you’re approaching your 65th birthday or you already have Medicare coverage, now is the time to start thinking about your Medicare coverage options for the upcoming year. While you’ll likely automatically get basic Medicare coverage once you turn 65, there are additional Medicare coverage options available.
But when can you get them and should you start preparing now? We’ve shared basic information you need to know about Medicare coverage options in the past, and now we’re providing all the key Medicare dates you need to know.
Your 65th Birthday
When you first become eligible for Medicare, you have the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan once you get Parts A & B. This is called your Initial Coverage Election Period, and it is the seven-month period that runs from 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday through 3 months after your birthday month.
Remember: You must have both Original Medicare Parts A & B to complete your coverage with Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Supplement plan. You’ll likely be automatically enrolled in Part A around your 65th birthday, but you may have to call your Social Security office to actively enroll in Part B.
Have Original Medicare and ready for more options?
Medicare Open Enrollment is from October 15 to December 7, 2016. You’re not required to re-enroll in Medicare each year, but you can review and change plans if needed. During this time period, you can do the following:
- Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
- Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
- Change Medicare Advantage plans
- Find a new Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan
- Switch from one Prescription Drug plan to another
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.