You may join, switch or drop Medicare Prescription Drug Plans only during Medicare Part D Enrollment Periods. People who either have Medicare and Medicaid, or qualify for Extra Help are excepted from this rule because they can switch plans every month.
Each Medicare Part D plan is required to send its members in the fall the Annual Notice of Change. It identifies changes in your prescription drug coverage plan for the coming year and includes changes in drug tier structure, as well as cost sharing. Review this document when making a decision on whether you want to update your Prescription Drug coverage.
Normally, Medicare Part D enrollment is on a calendar year basis, starting the date your coverage begins.
Medicare Part D Enrollment Periods
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a 7-month period that begins 3 months before you turn 65, or 3 months before your 25th month of disability. It is used to enroll in Medicare Parts B and D, and includes the 3 months before, the month of, and the 3 months after the triggering event, such as turning 65.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs between October 15 and December 7. Your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year.
In certain situations you may be eligible for a Special Election Period (SEP) which allows you to make changes in your coverage outside of Medicare Part D enrollment periods described above. Examples of SEP include: you’ve moved out of the service area, you are enrolled into PACE plan, you’ve lost creditable prescription coverage, you have both Medicare and Medicaid, etc. SEP length is dependent on the event that triggered it. For example, people who qualify for Extra Help have continuous SEP and they can change plans once a month.
On changing Medicare Part D plan, you don’t need to cancel the old plan. It will end automatically when the new plan begins.
Medicare Part D Penalty
Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage is prescription drug coverage that is at least ‘as good’ as standard Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. If you didn’t enroll in the Prescription Drug Plan when you were first eligible, and you go without Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage for 63 continuous days or more, you may have to pay a penalty if you decide to join later. The penalty is 1% for each month you could have been enrolled but were not (assuming you didn’t have the creditable coverage). Therefore, although the Prescription Drug Plan is technically optional, we suggest to always enroll.
Let Liberty Medicare Help you
Our services are offered to you at no cost. If you are considering a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, let us help you.
Contact us with your Medicare Questions, or give us a call at 877-657-7477, and you will be connected to a licensed agent/broker.