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When can I enroll if I'm turning 65 and new to Medicare?
If you are turning 65, you should enroll in a Part D plan during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) when you first become eligible for Medicare. This 7-month period includes the three months before you turn 65, your birthday month, and the three months after your 65th birthday.
When can I enroll if I get Medicare due to a disability?
If you get Medicare due to a disability, you can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan:
- Up to 3 months before the 25th month of your disability
- Up to 3 months after your 25th month of disability
- During your Initial Enrollment Period when you turn 65
If I enroll during the IEP, when does my Part D coverage begin?
If you enroll during the 3 months before your 65th birthday, your coverage will start on the first day of your birthday month. If you join during or after your birthday month, your coverage will begin on the first day of the next month. Here's an example:
|If your 65th birthday is:||You can enroll:||If you enroll:||Your coverage will start:|
|July 7||April 1 – October 31||April 1 – June 30
July 1 – July 31
August 1 – August 31
What is the Annual Election Period for Part D drug coverage?
The Annual Election Period (AEP), also called the Open Enrollment Period, is the time of year in which anyone with Medicare can join, drop, or switch Part D plans. Each year, the Annual Election Period begins on October 15 and ends on December 7.
If I enroll during the AEP, when does my Part D coverage begin?
If you enroll in a Part D plan during the Annual Election Period, your coverage will begin on the following January 1 and will continue for the entire year.
Are there any other times to enroll?
Yes, there are several other times when you can enroll in a Part D plan. For example, you may be eligible to enroll during a Special Enrollment Period due to special circumstances. If you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, you will receive information in the mail with additional details.
In addition, each year from January 1 to February 14, beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD plans) can sign up for a Part D plan if they cancel their Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) during this time period. This is called the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.
In 2012, Medicare also introduced a year-round Five-Star Special Enrollment Period that begins December 8 for those interested in joining a five-star Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan. If you are currently enrolled in a plan that has 4.5 stars or lower, you can switch to a five-star plan one time during this Special Enrollment Period. However, options are limited as few five-star plans are currently available.
Do I need to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan?
It is not mandatory, but it is important to enroll in a Part D plan when you are first eligible. If you don't join a Medicare prescription drug plan when you are first eligible for Medicare, and you don't have other creditable prescription drug coverage, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty with your monthly premium if you decide to enroll later. You may also have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you go without Medicare prescription drug coverage or other creditable prescription drug coverage for 63 days or more in a row. The penalty is 1 percent for every month that you didn't have creditable coverage.
Do I still need to enroll if I do not take any medications?
Even if you do not take any medications right now, you should still enroll in a Medicare Part D plan as soon as you are eligible. If you don't need a lot of coverage now, you can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan with a low monthly premium. That way you will be covered if or when your needs change. Plus, by joining a Part D plan when you are initially eligible, you will avoid the late enrollment penalty.