Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Basics:
You can join, switch, or drop a Medicare drug plan at these times:
- When you first become eligible for Medicare. You can join the 3 months before you turn age 65 to 3 months after the month you turn age 65.
- If you get Medicare due to a disability, you can join during the 3 months before to 3 months after your 25th month of disability.
- From October 15 -- December 7 each year. Your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year.
- At any time if you qualify for extra help. This includes people who have Medicare and Medicaid, belong to a Medicare Savings Program, get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits (but not Medicaid), and those who apply and qualify.
Note: In certain limited circumstances, you may be able to switch to another Medicare drug plan. For example, you may be able to switch at other times if you permanently move out of your drug plan’s service area or if you enter, live in, or leave a nursing home.
If you currently have Medicare prescription drug coverage, you should review your coverage each year in the fall.
If you are happy with your coverage, cost, and customer service, and your Medicare drug plan is still offered in your area, you don’t have to do anything for your coverage to continue for another year. However, if you decide another plan will better meet your needs, you can switch to a different plan.
How do I switch my plan?
You can switch from your current plan at the times listed above by joining a different plan. Joining a different Medicare drug plan will disenroll you from your current plan. You don’t need to tell your current Medicare drug plan you are leaving or send them anything. You should get a letter from your new Medicare drug plan telling you when your coverage begins.
How do I join a plan?
Contact the company that offers the plan you want to join, and ask how to join the plan. Depending on the company, you may be able to join by calling the plan, by mailing or faxing a completed enrollment form to the company, or by enrolling through the company’s website. You may also be able to join through the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder tool by visiting
www.medicare.gov on the web. Under "Search Tools," select
"Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans."
This Website, Q1Medicare.com, also offers many tools to assist you in finding and enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan. Find your Medicare Part D plan via one of the tools below and then click on the "enroll" icon to download your enrollment materials.
(Primary Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - Your Guide to Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage 2008. This content may have been enhanced by Q1Group LLC to include further examples, explanations, and links.)