At What Time Should I Join Medicare Part D?
Remember these dates to join, switch, or drop a Medicare Part D drug plan
- You can join, switch, or drop when you first become eligible for Medicare (7 month period that begins 3 months before you turn 65, the month that you turn 65, and ends 3 months after you turn 65.)
- If you get Medicare due to disability, you can join during the 3 months before to 3 months after your 25th month of disability. You will also have the opportunity to join 3 months before you turn 65 to 3 months after you turn 65.
- Between October 15th – December 7th and your coverage will begin on January 1, 2012 as long as the plan gets your enrollment request by December 7th.
- You may also join, switch, or drop anytime, if you qualify for Extra Help.
(Extra Help is a Medicare program that helps people with limited income and resources pay Medicare prescription drug program costs, such as premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.)
- 5-Star Special Enrollment Period: beginning December 8th, 2011, you can switch to a 5 Star Medicare Prescription Drug Plan at anytime during the year. Note: You may only switch to a 5-Star drug plan if it is available in you area, and you may only switch one time per year.
Exceptions to the Rule
Once enrolled in a drug plan, you must stay enrolled for that calendar year starting with the date that your coverage begins. However, there are certain exceptions that will allow you to join, switch, or drop. Some of these include:
- If you move out of you plan’s service area: A service area is a geographic where health insurance plans accepts members if it limits membership based on where people live. For plans that limit which doctors and hospitals you may use, it’s also generally the area where you can get routine (non-emergency) services.
- If you lose other creditable prescription drug coverage: Creditable prescription drug coverage is prescription drug coverage that is expected to pay, on average, at least as much as Medicare’s standard prescription drug coverage. Creditable coverage can include drug coverage from a current or former employer or union, TRICARE, Indian Health Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, or health insurance coverage. Your plan will tell you each year if your drug coverage is creditable coverage.
- If you live in an institution ( such as a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or rehabilitation hospital)
Please find more helpful information about Medicare Part D on our website or give MWG Senior Services a call at 877-936-2991.