"Medicare and You" provides the following information:
Joining a health or drug plan
|You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you missed your chance to enroll in a Medicare health or drug plan due to COVID-19. For more information, call us at 1-800-MEDICARE.
When you first get Medicare (Initial Enrollment Periods for Part C & Part D)
- I'm newly eligible for Medicare because I turned 65.
- I'm newly eligible for Medicare because I have a disability (under 65).
- I'm already eligible for Medicare because of a disability, and I turned 65.
- I don't have Medicare Part A, and I enrolled in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31).
- I have Medicare Part A coverage, and I enrolled in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31).
During certain times each year (yearly enrollment periods for Part C & Part D)
Each year, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year. There are 2 separate enrollment periods each year:
- Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
5-star special enrollment period
Medicare uses information from member satisfaction surveys, plans, and health care providers to give overall performance star ratings to plans. A plan can get a rating between 1 and 5 stars. A 5-star rating is considered excellent. These ratings help you compare plans based on quality and performance. Medicare updates these ratings each fall for the following year. These ratings can change each year.
You can only switch to a 5-star Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Cost Plan, or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan once between December 8 and November 30.
If you move from a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage to a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, you’ll be disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage Plan, including the health benefit. You’ll be returned to Original Medicare for coverage of your health services. You can only switch to a 5-star Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if one is available in your area.
If you move from a Medicare Advantage Plan that has drug coverage to a 5‑star Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t, you may lose your prescription drug coverage. You’ll have to wait until your next enrollment opportunity to get drug coverage, and you may have to pay a Part D late enrollment penalty.
5-star plans are identified with this special icon: Find health and drug plans.
Special enrollment periods if you get Extra Help