Individual plans: Important enrollment dates
Special Enrollment Period for plans rated 5 out of 5 stars
Dec. 8–Nov. 30
You can change to a plan rated 5 out of 5 stars before the next annual enrollment period. The 5-star Special Enrollment Period enables you to make one change during this period, so take this opportunity to a get a Kaiser Permanente Medicare health plan that is rated 5 out of 5 stars for 2021—and start enjoying a high level of quality, service, and member satisfaction.*
Our 2021 5 out of 5-Star rated Medicare health plans are available in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Southwest Washington, Virginia, and Washington D.C.*
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars overall for 2021 and is not part of the 5-star Special Enrollment Period.*
Talk to a Kaiser Permanente Medicare specialist today for more information and to discuss your enrollment options. Call us toll free 1-855-223-3679 (TTY 711) 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.
Annual Enrollment Period
Oct. 15–Dec. 7
During the Annual Enrollment Period you can:
- join, change, or drop a Medicare Part C plan (also known as Medicare Advantage)
- join, change, or drop a Medicare Part D plan (prescription drug coverage)
- join a Medicare Cost plan with Part D
- add Part D coverage, if you are already enrolled in a Medicare Cost plan without it
Changes made during the Annual Enrollment Period become effective January 1 of the following year.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)
During this period, you can make a one-time election to:
- add or drop Part D coverage
- enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan
- disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare
Individuals enrolled in either MA-PD or MA-only plans can switch to:
- Original Medicare (with or without a stand-alone Part D plan)
The effective date for an MA OEP election is the first of the month following receipt of the enrollment request.
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as of January 1, your MA OEP period is January 1 to March 31.
If you are a new Medicare beneficiary who is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Election Period, your MA OEP is the month of entitlement to Part A and Part B through the last day of the 3rd month of entitlement.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)
Retiring at age 65
If you plan to retire at 65, your initial Medicare enrollment window is a 7-month period (usually around your 65th birthday) that includes:
- 3 months before you’re first eligible for Medicare coverage
- the month you start to qualify for Medicare coverage
- 3 months after you start to qualify for Medicare coverage
These 7 months typically also count as an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for Part D (prescription drug) coverage. This means you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan.
Retiring after 65
If you plan to retire after 65, you can enroll in Part A and/or Part B during the 8-month period that begins the month after the employer or union group health plan coverage ends, or when the employment ends (which ever is first).
Special Enrollment Periods
Medicare health plans for Individuals
There are unique circumstances that allow you to sign up for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Cost plan—both with prescription drug coverage—or for a Medicare Part D plan (for prescription drug coverage) at various times of year.
You may qualify if any of the following applies to you:
- You were enrolled in another organization’s plan, but recently moved into a different service area.
- If you’re eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), you may qualify for our Special Needs Plan (SNP), which is available in some Kaiser Permanente service areas. Qualified beneficiaries may enroll in a SNP plan at any time.
- You had a Special needs plan, but recently lost eligibility for it.
- You are Medicare-Medicaid eligible or you recently lost eligibility.
- You qualify for Extra Help to pay for your prescription drug costs or you recently lost eligibility for this Extra Help.
- You will soon be enrolling in, are currently enrolled in or recently left an employer Group health plan.
- You recently lost creditable prescription drug coverage.
- You currently live in or recently left a nursing home.
Other events may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. For more information, call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (toll-free) or 1-877-486-2048 (toll-free TTY for the hearing/speech impaired), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
General Enrollment Period
Jan. 1–March 31
If you didn’t sign up for Part A and/or Part B when you were first eligible, you can try again during the General Enrollment Period each year. Your coverage will begin July 1, but you may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment.
NOTE: If you’re going to receive Medicare health plan coverage through your employer, union, or trust fund, start here.
For more information about overall plan ratings or to search for plans, visit the Medicare website.† You can also call Medicare toll free at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or 1-877-486-2048 (TTY for the hearing/speech impaired), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), to get started.