Medicare Part D Enrollment Periods
There are three different enrollment periods for Medicare Part D. Each one is unique to you, the beneficiary. It’s important to understand these enrollment periods to avoid late penalties that will stay with you forever.
What are the Enrollment Periods for Medicare Part D?
The three enrollment period for Medicare Part D are:
- Initial Enrollment Period
- Annual Enrollment Period
- Special Enrollment Period
Your Initial Enrollment Period for Part D
Everyone’s Initial Enrollment Period is different, it’s specific to your 65th birthday month. Your IEP starts 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after your birthday month.
Let’s say Chad is looking to enroll in Original Medicare for health care coverage. Chad knows that he has some monthly prescriptions he needs for his health condition.
He has basic coverage and is within his Initial Enrollment Period; he looks to join a Part D plan to help pay for the cost of his prescriptions.
Since Chad is still within his first 7 months of his IEP, this is a good time to enroll in a Part D plan. Enrollment in Part D was during the 5th month of Chad’s IEP, his Part D coverage will begin the following month.
If Chad enrolled within the first 3 months of his IEP he could’ve had coverage on the same day as Part A and B effective dates.
The Annual Enrollment Period for Part D
The second chance to enroll in Part D coverage is during the Medicare Fall Annual Enrollment Period. Medicare has times you may enroll in or make changes to your Part D coverage. You don’t have to sign up for a Part D plan every year, but every year you’ll have another opportunity to make changes or enroll in a prescription drug plan.
Each fall the Annual Election Period runs from October 15th through December 7th. AEP is commonly mistaken for the Open Enrollment Period.
During AEP, members can openly make changes to their current coverage. This includes enrolling in a Part D drug plan or switching from one Part D plan to another Part D plan that better suits your medical needs.
Beneficiaries may also use this time to drop their drug coverage altogether. Once changes are made, coverage will start on January 1st the following year.
For instance, Chad previously enrolled in a Part D drug plan back in June. During the end of August Chad found himself needing to take 4 different medications for his new health condition.
Well, his current Part D plan doesn’t cover some of his needed medicines.
Chad calls his Medicare agent to compare Part D plans, that way in October during the Annual Election Period, Chad can switch his Part D plan. Even though Chad will have to wait until January for his coverage to begin, he feels good knowing he will soon have the coverage he needs.
Of course, there are unique situations; those who qualify – may enroll during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D
Life happens for everyone; Special Enrollment Periods are for when certain situations or events happen in life. SEPs give you chances to make changes to your Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan.
Certain events include moving out of your plan’s service area, losing other insurance coverage, leaving or getting a job, moving in or out of a nursing home facility, weather emergencies or major natural disasters.
There are many situations that could qualify for you for a Special Enrollment Period enrollment.
Keep in mind, to enroll in a plan you must first meet all Part D eligibility criteria. It’s important to talk to an agent to help answer any questions you may have about your situation.
How to Get Help with Enrolling in Medicare Part D
Looking to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan doesn’t have to be a difficult task. If you’re confused or still unsure of what your best option is, don’t worry! We can help you! Our team of licensed Medicare agents is happy to help clear up any confusion or answer any questions you may still have.
We will compare plans and provide you with all the quotes you need, free of charge. Give us a call today at the number listed above or fill out one of our online rate comparison forms.