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Hello Matt,

I know there is an annual election period for Medicare, but I’m unsure of the specific dates. I’ve heard it starts in October and ends in December. Can you give me a window of time that I can change my benefits for Medicare?



Hello Patty,

The AEP, or Annual Election Period, begins every year on October 15 and ends on December 7. This is why your mailbox, web browsers, and TV screens fill up with commercials and ads from insurance companies hoping to get you to buy or switch Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans during this time period.

The AEP does not apply to Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance. 

Sign Up for Medicare or Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan

This same AEP period is when you can change your Medicare Advantage plan or your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan if you want. For instance, during the AEP, you can move from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or vice versa. You may also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan that may better suit your needs or your budget.

Switching Your Medicare Part D Prescription Plan

Likewise, you may switch from one Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to another or join or leave a Medicare Part D plan altogether. Provided that you make any of these changes during the AEP, your new coverage will take effect on the following January 1, and your old one will immediately be dropped with no gap in coverage.

If you don’t do anything or change anything, you just roll over and stay on the plan you have for the next year. 

This period is only for changing Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans.

I hope this helps!


Matt Feret


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Author Bio Matt Feret is the author of the Prepare for Social Security -The Insider’s Guide and the Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide book series and launched PrepareforSocialSecurity.com to help people get objective answers to questions about Social Security and Medicare. Matt is also the host of The Matt Feret Show. He has held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in sales, marketing, operations, product development, and strategy for over two decades.