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Medicare Part D: When Can I Enroll? Change Plans?


When can I enroll?  You can enroll in Medicare Part D:

  • The First Time: The Initial Enrollment Period
    • You can enroll in Medicare Part D for the 7 months period around the month you first become eligible for Medicare. The 7 months occurs as follows:
      • 3 months before you become eligible for Medicare
      • The month during which you become eligible for Medicare
      • The three months following eligibility.
    • If you become eligible due to receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, the 7 months surround the date of the 25th month in which you receive SSDI benefits.
  • The Annual Coordinated Election Period
    • You can enroll in Medicare Part D between November 15 and December 31 of each year.
    • The coverage is effective January 1 of the following year.
    • There may be a "premium penalty" if you did not have "creditable coverage" ( coverage at least equal to Medicare Part D), or if you did have Creditable Coverage but didn't obtain Part D coverage within 62 days after ending the Creditable Coverage.
  • Special enrollment period
    • You get a special period in which to enroll for Medicare Part D in a batch of circumstances, including (to name a few):
      • If you move out of the plan's service area.
      • You lose prescription drug coverage through no fault of own. If you lose coverage due to your own fault, such as no payment of premiums, you don't get a special enrollment period.
      • If a Medicare plan stops providing coverage, stops giving service on a timely basis, or misrepresented information to you.
      • If you need it because of a federal employee's mistake.

When can I change plans?

  • The primary times when people can change plans are:
    • Every year, on January 1st by completing the appropriate forms between the previous November 15 and December 7.
    • If you already have Medicare, you can change during the period January 1 through March 31 of each year (the "Open Enrollment" period.) New coverage will start the first day of the following month. During an Open Enrollment period, you can't add or drop drug coverage. You can only change the medical. If you had medical coverage through Original Medicare, you now have to get a Medicare Advantage plan to get your drugs covered.
    • You can also can change plans once a year at any time of the year if you choose a plan that has earned Medicare's rating of five-stars.  You can find these plans  offsite linkThey are the plans with a gold star.
    • You can also change plans during a "special enrollment period" which occurs if:
      • You move out of your plan's area
      • You move into a nursing home.
      • Your plan stops providing services in your area.
    • In you are in a nursing home, you can change Medicare Part D coverage once a month.
  • If you want to change at another time, contact Medicare at: 800.633.4227

How do I enroll?

You can enroll through Medicare (over the telephone or the internet) or directly with the plan of your choice.

  • Through Medicare:
  • Through the plan of your choice:bContact the plan through their website or phone number.

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