If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B and you live within your plan’s service area, you may enroll in the Medicare drug benefit (Part D) during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
The IEP for Part D will usually be the same as it is for Part B: the seven-month period, which includes the three months before the month a person becomes eligible for Medicare, the month you are eligible, and three months after you become eligible. For example, if you become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 on May 15, then your IEP will be February 1 to August 31.
If someone does not join a Medicare drug plan during the Initial Enrollment Period, they may not be able to enroll until Fall Open Enrollment. Fall Open Enrollment will begin on October 15 and will end December 7. Enrollments and changes made during Fall Open Enrollment will become effective January 1. You may also have to pay premium penalties.
If you join a Medicare drug plan during the three months before you become eligible for Medicare, your coverage will start the month you became eligible. If you join a Medicare drug plan during the month you become eligible, or during the three months afterwards, your coverage for prescription drugs will start the first month after you enroll. You should enroll early during your IEP to make sure that your coverage will begin as soon as you become eligible.
Note: If you are disabled and you are turning 65 you will qualify for a new Part D IEP. This IEP will last seven months including the three months before you turn 65, the three months after you turn 65, and the month you turn 65. If you were paying for a Medicare drug benefit premium penalty because you signed up late for Part D before you turned 65, you will no longer be required to pay this once your Part D IEP begins.
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