Medicare Part D Enrollment Periods
Medicare Part D enrollment periods dictate when enrollment and policy effective date can take place. Enrolling in Medicare Part D when first eligible for Original Medicare is a great way to be proactive.
As we get older and reach the next phase of life, our chances for needing medications increases. Joining a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan when first eligible will ultimately save you money.
There’s no telling what could happen in the future, waiting until a health problem arises to seek prescription drug coverage can cause you great financial distress.
The best way to avoid any unexpected medical expenses is by enrolling in a drug plan when you join Medicare. Let’s discuss the different times Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a Part D drug plan.
Medicare Part D Enrollment Periods
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.
Since Chad is still within his first 7 months of his Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), this is a good time to enroll in a Medicare 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.
Enrolling in Medicare Part D
When looking to enroll in Medicare Part D coverage for the first time, beneficiaries will have three enrollment periods. However, there are certain requirements prior to doing so.
The second chance to enroll in Part D coverage is during the Medicare Fall Annual Enrollment Period. Of course, there are unique situations; those who qualify – may enroll during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
Beneficiaries who enroll in Medicare Part D coverage must first have Original Medicare. Additionally, to enroll beneficiaries must live in the service area of the Part D plan.
If you have Medicare because of a disability, you may also qualify to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan.
Furthermore, if you currently must pay a premium penalty charge, once you turn 65 Medicare will waive your penalty. The reason for this is because, when you turn 65, you’ll qualify for a new Part D IEP.
Medicare Part D Enrollment Period 2019
New changes in Medicare’s enrollment periods are taking place starting January 1, 2019. Medicare introduces the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). Running from January 1st – March 31st every year, this period will replace the period known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP).
The OEP will allow beneficiaries to change Medicare Advantage plans to one with or without drug coverage or drop their current plan and return to Original Medicare.
Medicare Part D AEP
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 Medicare Part D drug plan or switching from one Medicare 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 next 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.
Medicare Part D IEP
Depending on your situation, enrollment in Medicare Part D may happen during IEP, which is the first 7 months of Medicare coverage.
Everyone’s IEP is different, it’s specific to your 65th birthday month. The IEP starts 3 months before your 65th birthday, the month of, and the 3 months following.
Chad’s birthday is July 1st, IEP will begin June 1st. If Chad’s birthday was July 2nd his coverage would begin on July 1st.
Eligible Medicare enrollees with a qualifying disability who are receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits who are under 65 will also have an IEP.
The 7-month window will open 3 months prior to the 25th month of receiving SS or RRB benefits, it’ll end 3 months after.
Medicare Part D SEP
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 Medicare 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.
Enrolling in Medicare Part D
Looking to enroll in a Medicare 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.
Medicare Part D enrollment periods can be a bear to understand; we can help you find coverage today and again in the future when you want to compare plans.