California Medicare Options  -  How to enroll in California Medicare Plans

how do i apply for california medicare advantage or supplement plans

How to Enroll in California Advantage Plans

We have good news here.

There's the old way of enrolling which involved forms in triplicate (only partially kidding) and many different ways to make mistakes.

Then...there's the new way!

Online applications for the major Medicare Advantage carriers that guide you right the process and nudge you when missing information is still needed.

Of course, we can walk you through it as well!

Let's touch base on these topics to make the process easier:

  • How to apply online for California Medicare plans
  • What information to have ready
  • When to apply for Medicare plans
  • Understanding the different enrollment periods
  • What to expect after you enroll
  • What if you want to make changes or cancel?
  • How to make future Annual Open Enrollment easier and faster

There's zero cost for access to this system!

Let's get started

How to apply online for California Medicare plans

If you haven't already, run your medicare supplement quote here:

quote and enroll in medicare plans


You'll be able to enter your doctor and medication info right away which is critical for Advantage and Part D plans!



With that, you'll be able to see all the major plans available in your area.

If we do contract with your chosen carrier (and we're set up with the biggest carriers...reach out ot us for others and we may be able to contract specifically), you'll see an ability to enroll in a given plan right through the quote results!


It's the familiar "Add to Cart" process next to a given plan in the quote.

We're already set up for the biggest carriers with more to come.

quote california medicare carriers and plans online

There are some basic pieces of information to have ready.

What information to have ready

Before enrolling, here's what you want to have handy:

  • MBI# - Medicare Beneficiary Identifier
  • Part A and B effective dates (and for them to be active for eff date you're enrolling)
  • Physical address in service area of chosen Advantage plan (quote will be based on that zip code)
  • Medication list/dosage/type and doctor list (for the original quote)
  • What enrollment period are you using to enroll (more on that below)


Those pieces and the basics (DOB, name, address, etc) make up the bulk of the process.

We can help with any questions along the way.  Just call us at (888) 496-9439 (by law, all calls around Advantage plans or Part D must be recorded) or email here.   

If you don't see the online enrollment available through the quote system, reach out to us with your chosen carrier/plan and we'll send other options to you.

Let's touch base on the "when" of the matter around Advantage plan enrollment.

When to apply for Medicare plans

Advantage plans and Part D plans (stand-alone medication plans) have special rules around when you can enroll.

Here's the cheat sheet (reach out with any special situations at

  • Enroll prior to the 1st of the month you want coverage to start
  • You're eligible on the 1st of the month you turn 65 in
  • Enroll as soon as you know you're losing other coverage (employer, union, Covered Ca, etc)
  • Enroll/change plans end of each year during annual enrollment period
  • Changes in medi-cal status can offer different triggers throughout the year
  • Changes in institutional care status offer periods any time of the year
  • Turning 65 and/or a new Part B are the most common triggers
  • Part D requires Part A and/OR Part B eligibility (meaning, Part A is enough to enroll unlike Advantage plans and Supplements which requires A AND B)

You can check your Medicare status via local Social Security office or online here.


The formal rules:

When to join a Medicare health or drug plan (Part D)

Enrollment period:

You can:

Coverage starts:

Initial Enrollment Period
(new to Medicare)

Starts 3 months before you get Medicare and ends 3 months after you get Medicare.

Join any plan.

  • You need both Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) to join a Medicare Advantage Plan.

  • You need either Part A or Part B to join a Medicare drug plan.

Varies, depending on when the plan gets your request:

  • If you request to join a plan before your Medicare starts: Your plan coverage starts the same day as when your Medicare starts.

  • If you request to join a plan after your Medicare starts: Your plan coverage starts the first of the month after the plan gets your request.

Initial Enrollment Period – New to Part B
(only if you get Part B after your Part A coverage starts)

The 3 months before your Part B starts.

Join any Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage.

The same day as when your Part B coverage starts.

Open Enrollment Period
October 15-December 7.

Join, drop, or switch to another plan. (You can add or drop drug coverage.)

January 1 of the next year.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
(only if you're already in a Medicare Advantage Plan)

  • January 1-March 31.

  • The first 3 months after you get Medicare and you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

  • Switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage.

  • Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and go back to Original Medicare. You can also join a Medicare drug plan.

First of the month after the plan gets your request.

Special Enrollment Period
Varies. Only for certain situations that happen in your life, like you move to a new address, you lose or have a change to your current coverage, you have Medicaid or get Extra Help paying drugs costs, and more.

Varies. Generally, you can join or switch to another plan.

Varies. Generally the first of the month after the plan gets your request.


Again, if there's any confusion or if your situation is more complicated (coming off of employer coverage, losing other coverage, etc), reach out to us at (888) 496-9439  or at 

Let's break all these rules down in to simple guides.

Understanding the different enrollment periods

The biggest one is turning 65 and getting Part A and B.

Most people are eligible the 1st of the month you turn 65 in.

Ideally then:

  • Check with or your local Social Security office to make sure your Part A and B are activated (B requires an additional premium) about 2-3 months prior to the 1st day of your birth month
  • Enroll in Advantage, Supplement, and/or Part D around 30 days prior to the 1st you want it effective

how and when to enroll in medicare



We can enroll right up to the last day of the month before the 1st day of your birth month but this is cutting it really close and it takes times to actually get the plan into membership in case you need health care.

Better to go with the 3 months prior (Part A and B) and at least 1 month (Advantage or Medigap enrollment)

We advise choosing Advantage plans that include a Part D as you may not be able to get a stand-alone Part D with an advantage plan that doesn't include medication.  That's risky!

Again, Medicare is always confusing to people new to it so reach out with questions or set up a good time to talk at


The second biggest trigger we see is people who are coming off of employer (retiring) health plans.

You can go past age 65 birthday if you have qualified coverage (equivalent to Medicare and/or the Part D standard medication benefit).

Losing qualified coverage then makes you eligible for enrolling in Part B if you haven't already and you have the initial enrollment period trigger from above (new to Medicare).

Again...same rules apply...get your Part A/B set up prior to last day you're losing employer coverage and enroll in the Advantage or Supplement plan before the 1st of the month you want it to start.

Be careful...if eligible for Medicare, you will likely NOT have a Cobra option.  Many people don't know this and we learned the hard way about 18 years ago.

1-2 months in advance is the best approach if you're losing group coverage.

The other key triggers revolve around big life changes.

  • A move to an area where the prior plan does not cover (say from another State)
  • Involuntary loss of coverage
  • Changes in medi-cal status - gain or loss  (check with county office)
  • Changes in income qualification for "extra help"  (check with county office)
  • 1 year window to switch back to traditional Medicare or supplement after changing to Advantage time the first time
  • 1 time move to 5 star rated plan during a year


Again, check with us and let us research your situation!    We'll research it for you! you got through the online enrollment.  Then what?

What to expect after you enroll in an Advantage plan

You'll get an instant confirmation from our online enrollment of receipt.

There are rules around the whole process so you'll also need to confirm that you understand this is an enrollment and what the core options and benefits are to you.

That's required by law and it's there to protect you.

We get calls all the time where people are saying they were switched by some agent and they didn't want to change plans.  Bad actors!

We obey the rules and we don't push!!  See our Reviews:


The carrier then has a period of time to both confirm enrollment and send out the welcome kit.

This generally occurs within 15 days after online app submittal (open enrollment can be slower).

You'll have an ID card and more detail around your plan.  Ideally, you put your doctor info into the original quote system so that's integrated into your plan.

Reach out with any questions going forward.  As California Medicare Advantage and Supplement agents, there's no cost for our assistance!  Zero!

quote part d according to your medications


Keep in mind that choosing a new Advantage plan will automatically cancel existing coverage (including Part D) but not supplements.  

 For a supplement, you will want to notify them to cancel once the Advantage plan is confirmed effective.  If we're the agent...we'll do that all for you!

What if you're having second thoughts?

What if you want to make changes or cancel?

We can cancel the enrollment anytime prior to the effective date.  The easiest way to do this is by calling the carrier.  

You can also disenroll from the Advantage plan but this needs to be done during certain times of the year.

Generally, this is during annual open enrollment Oct 15-Dec 7

You can also switch Advantage plans or change back to traditional Medicare from Jan 1st-March 31st.

  • Essentially, the first period is an open annual period to enroll/change/disenroll.
  • The second period is a "I don't like my new plan" do-over window!

Let's touch base on how our free system is going to make changing Advantage plans so much easier and faster for no cost to you!

How to make future Advantage enrollment easier and faster

The good news is that once your info is in our free system, it's easier to enroll in a new plan during periods of allowed change.

Your info's already there!    Super fast and easy especially with your doctor and RX info taken into account.

This can save 45 minutes from the process!

Each annual enrollment period, we'll send you a link to update any RX/doctor info (things change!).

From there, a new updated quoted with all the plans will arrive!

You can then submit online enrollment (when available) and most of your core information is already there!

This is a free system to you.  Learn more about us as Medicare Advantage agents but more importantly, check our Google Reviews here:



If the online enrollment is not available or if we're not contracted with a given carrier/plan, we'll track down the enrollment link for you anyway.  That's just the right thing to do.

See if any of the other agents will do that.  It's a litmus test for doing the right thing.

Reach out to us with any questions!  Be well.


Lots of good guidance here:

quote california medicare carriers and plans online

Quote Medicare Advantage Plans and Supplements with your Doctor and Medications Reflected!