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How do I join a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan?

Compare the Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)s available in your area. To compare plans, visit www.medicare.gov on the web, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see Other Important Medicare Contacts for their telephone number) or one of Medicare's other partners to get help with Medicare options. Once you have decided whether you want to join, contact the plan(s) you are interested in to find out more information and to enroll. After you enroll, you will get a membership card and other plan materials. The plan lets you know when your coverage begins.

how to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan
See How do I join a Medicare drug plan? for more information on how to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan (including by paper application, on the plan's website, on Medicare's website, or over the telephone).

Special Rules for People with End-Stage Renal Disease
If you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and you are in the Original Medicare Plan, you may join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), but you usually can't join a Medicare Advantage Plan. However, if you are already in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can stay in it or join another plan offered by the same company. If you've had a successful kidney transplant, you may be able to join a Medicare Advantage Plan.

If you have ESRD and a Medicare Advantage Plan and the plan leaves Medicare or no longer provides coverage in your area, you have a one-time right to join another Medicare Advantage Plan. You don't have to use your one-time right to join a new plan immediately. If you change directly to the Original Medicare Plan after your plan leaves or stops providing coverage, you will still have a one-time right to join a Medicare Advantage Plan at a later date as long as the plan you choose is accepting new members.

You may also be able to join a Medicare Special Needs Plan for people with

ESRD if one is available in your area. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov and view the booklet "Medicare Coverage of Kidney Dialysis and Kidney Transplant Services." To compare dialysis facilities in your area, visit www.medicare.gov on the web. Select "Search Tools" at the top of the page. Then select "Compare Dialysis Facilities in Your Area." Or, call 1-800-MEDICARE
(1-800-633-4227) for more information about ESRD and Medicare plans. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

(Primary Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - Medicare and You Handbook. This content may have been enhanced by Q1Group LLC to include further examples, explanations, and links.)
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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.