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Enrolling in Medicare

Once you’ve found your ideal coverage, you’ll need to know when and how to enroll.

Initial Enrollment Period

Your Initial Enrollment Period is when you are first eligible to enroll in Medicare. This applies to all plans (Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part D). If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, Medicare will require you to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Your Initial Enrollment Period is:
  • Three months before the month of your eligibility
  • In the month of your eligibility
  • Three months after the month of your eligibility

Confirming Your Eligibility

Before you enroll, you’ll want to confirm your month of eligibility. To see when you’re eligible, visit the Social Security Administration online at ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY:1-800-325-0778).

Additional Enrollment Period

As your needs or budget change over time, you may find yourself wanting to change plans. You can make changes to your plan during the following enrollment periods.

Annual Enrollment

When: Each year from October 15 through December 7

What you can do:

  • Switch from Original Medicare/Medicare Supplement to Medicare Advantage
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare/Medicare Supplement 
  • Change Medicare Advantage plans
  • Add or drop a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)

Open Enrollment

When: Each year from January 1 through March 31

What you can do:

  • Change Medicare Advantage plans
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare/Medicare Supplement
  • If returning to Original Medicare, you also have the option at this time to purchase a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).

Special Enrollment

When: You may make changes to your plan any time your situation qualifies. For example, if you happen to move to a home outside your service area, you are allowed to change plans.

What you can do, if eligible:

  • Switch from Original Medicare/Medicare Supplement to Medicare Advantage
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare/Medicare Supplement 
  • Change Medicare Advantage plans
  • Join, switch or drop a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)


For more information on Special Enrollment periods, visit Medicare.gov.

Medicare Supplement and Blue-to-BlueSM

Typically, you can only change Medicare Supplement plans when your plan is up for renewal (once each year in May). You may also have to answer additional health questions to be accepted into the new plan. 

Blue Cross NC gives you additional flexibility, allowing you to change Medicare Supplement plans during Annual Enrollment – without additional medical exams, underwriting or health questions.1 You can also switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare + Blue Medicare Supplement without underwriting during this time. Learn more about Blue-to-Blue

 

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  • Blue Medicare HMO & PPO

    1-800-665-8037
    TTY users dial 711

    Hours

    7 days a week: 8 a.m.– 8 p.m.

     

    To enroll

    Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Blue Medicare Rx (PDP)

    1-800-661-5518
    TTY users dial 711

    Hours

    7 days a week: 8 a.m.– 8 p.m.

     

    To enroll

    Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Blue Medicare Supplement

    1-800-478-0583
    TTY users dial 711

    Hours

    7 days a week: 8 a.m.– 8 p.m.

     

    To enroll

    Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Healthy Blue + MedicareSM

    1-800-400-8745
    TTY users dial 711

    Hours

    7 days a week: 8 a.m.– 8 p.m.

     

    To enroll

    Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • 1. Members of plans sponsored by Blue Cross NC will be able to change to other plans available when they purchased their original plan. Plan changes for a January 1 effective date can occur between October 15 and December 31. Plan changes for a June 1 effective date can occur between May 1 and May 31. Certain limits apply.