Do You Qualify for Medicare Enrollment Outside of Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): GEP and MAOEP

Read on below to learn about the Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP) which run concurrently from January 1 through March 31.

Key Takeaways


Medicare Enrollment Period General Information

As you approach Medicare eligibility (occurring for most Americans in their age 65 year), it’s important to get acquainted with the various times of year—known as enrollment periods—when you can sign up for Medicare coverage. Medicare’s two primary enrollment periods are:

  • The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and continues for three months following. When you enroll in Medicare during IEP, your coverage begins the month following signup.
  • The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) lasts from October 15 through December 7 every year. During this period, those already enrolled in Medicare can join or drop a Medicare Advantage plan, switch Medicare Advantage plans, add or drop prescription coverage, switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice-versa.

Beyond these two primary enrollment periods, the window from January 1 through March 31 comprises two additional enrollment periods for which you might be eligible: the General Enrollment Period (for those who did not sign up for Medicare in their first eligible year) and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (for those who wish to make changes to an existing Medicare Advantage plan).


More on the General Enrollment Period and GEP eligibility

The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) is another chance to apply for Medicare coverage if you missed your Initial Enrollment Period (the 7 months surrounding your 65th birthday, detailed above). GEP lasts from January 1 through March 31 every year. You are eligible to use the GEP the first January through March after your 65th birthday year ends.

Couple on computer

Enrolling in Medicare during the GEP

As long as you are eligible, there are two ways to enroll in Medicare during the GEP:

  • In-person or over-the-phone enrollment with your local Social Security office

Enrolled benefits from the GEP begin on July 1 of the enrollment year.

Want to learn more about GEP enrollment? Call our helpful agents at
1-833-488-0038 for assistance.

More on the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period and MAOEP eligibility

Though it runs concurrent with the GEP, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP) is for an entirely different group of people—only current Medicare Advantage plan holders are eligible for MAOEP. 

This period, following shortly after the Annual Enrollment Period of October 15 through December 7, allows plan holders to double-check their plans to make sure they cover the correct doctors and prescriptions and fit the policyholder’s budget. 

IMPORTANT NOTE—you may not enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or any other type of coverage for the first time during MAOEP; this period exists to change existing coverage.


What you can and can’t do during MAOEP

Once a year outside of AEP, from January 1 through March 31, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period allows you to change your existing Medicare Advantage plan.

What you can do:

  • Add prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D)
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
  • Add prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D)

What you can't do:

  • Enroll in Original Medicare for the first time
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time
  • Enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan without underwriting health questions

Changes in coverage during MAOEP take effect July 1 of that year.

Get Medicare Enrollment Period Help

If you qualify for General Enrollment after missing your Initial Enrollment Period or have questions about Medicare Advantage plans, call 1-833-488-0038 to reach our US-based, US-licensed agents.

View these resources for more in-depth information

https://www.cms.gov/priorities/key-initiatives/medicare-open-enrollment-partner-resourceshttps://www.cms.gov/training-education/find-provider-type/employers-unions/top-five-medicare-enrollment https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/get-more-coverage/joining-a-plan https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/sign-up/when-does-medicare-coverage-start  https://www.medicarefaq.com/faqs/medicare-general-enrollment-period/ https://www.ncoa.org/article/a-closer-look-at-the-medicare-general-enrollment-period
Customer service agent

Who We Are

Clearlink Insurance has more than 300 licensed agents nationwide. We work with the top insurance providers in the country to help you narrow down the best options for you, the customer.

If you qualify for one of the Medicare enrollment periods discussed on this page, click the button below to begin.

Our Insurance Brand Partners

AetnaCignaRegenceUnited HealthcareWellcareMutual of Omaha