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Important Medicare plan dates to remember




When can I join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

(1) Annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period - If you currently have Medicare Part A (hospital and inpatient coverage) and / or Medicare Part B (doctor and outpatient coverage), you can enroll or re-enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) or Medicare Advantage plan with prescription coverage (MAPD) during the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period (AEP) starting on October 15 through December 7 of each year and your newly-chosen Medicare plan coverage begins on January 1 of the following year.

So, for the 2023 Medicare Part D Plans, you can enroll between October 15, 2022 and December 7, 2022. And your new 2023 Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan will begin January 1, 2023.

(2) Initial Enrollment Period - When you turn 65 or first become eligible for Medicare, you will be granted an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) with a seven (7) month window of time to enroll into a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan and avoid any possible Late-Enrollment Penalty.
The 7-month IEP starts three (3) months before the month of your Medicare eligibility (for instance, your 65th birthday month)
- includes the month of your Medicare eligibility (e.g. the month you turn 65)
- and, then the three (3) months after the month you become eligible for Medicare.

During the IEP, your Medicare plan coverage will begin either on the first day of your Birthday month or, if you join a Medicare plan during or after your Medicare-eligibility month, plan coverage will begin on the first day of the month after the month in which you join.

For example, if you turn 65 on June 10th, you can enroll into a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan anytime during March, April, or May with Medicare plan coverage starting June 1st. You can also join a Medicare plan June, July, August, or September with plan coverage beginning the first day of the month after enrollment.

TIP Please note, to ensure the smoothest possible transition into your new Medicare Part D plan, try to enroll before the middle of the month - this allows time for the processing of your enrollment application and the receipt of all your new Medicare plan information. Also, if you need Medicare Part D drug coverage and/or Medicare Advantage healthcare coverage immediately, enroll into a plan before your Medicare-eligibility month so plan coverage will begin at the earliest possible time.


General Medicare Part D Dates

  • October 1st of each year - Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and Medicaer Advantage plan Marketing Activities can begin for the next year’s plan. At this time, you will be able to gather information about available plans in your area and evaluate the various Medicare plan alternatives. Please note, no enrollment applications may be accepted before October 15th for Medicare plans starting in the new year (ex: On October 1, 2023, we will begin showing plan information for the plans that will become effective January 1, 2024). The only enrollments that can be accepted before October 15th are those for people becoming eligible for Medicare (such as, turning 65) who want to enroll in a current year Medicare plan or for Medicare beneficiaries using a Special Enrollment Period to change Medicare plans during their current year plan (such as a Medicare/Medicaid eligible beneficiary).

  • October 15 to December 7 of each year - During the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period (AEP) you have the opportunity to join, change or drop a Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage for the new plan year (your enrollment decision will take effect January 1st of the new year ). If you already have a Medicare Part D plan, this is your time to make a decision for your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage next year.

    If you like your current Medicare plan, and understand how your plan is changing next year, you do not need to make any enrollment during the AEP. If you do not enroll into another Medicare plan, you will remain in the same Medicare plan as this year - along with any plan changes. So you do not need to take any action to keep your same Medicare plan for another year - assuming that your plan is being offered next year. It is possible that you plan will be discontinued or that you will be automatically moved or "crosswalked" to anther plan next year - so be sure to check any information you receive from your current Medicare plan about plan changes next year.

  • January 1 of each year - Your new Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan becomes effective and you will be able to begin using your new Medicare plan benefits .

  • January 1 to March 31 of each year - During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA-OEP), people currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can change Medicare Advantage plans - or drop their Medicare Advantage plan, return to original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, and join a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP).

  • At any time from January 1 to November 30 of each year - People becoming Medicare-eligible (turning 65) can use their 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) to join a current-year Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan. In certain circumstances, Medicare beneficiaries can use a Special Enrollment Period to join or change their Medicare plan to a current- year Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan.

Tips & Disclaimers
  • Q1Medicare®, Q1Rx®, and Q1Group® are registered Service Marks of Q1Group LLC and may not be used in any advertising, publicity, or for commercial purposes without the express authorization of Q1Group.
  • 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.