Every year people find that their Medicare Part D prescription drug plan does not start as they expected. Although most people submit their Part D enrollment applications on a timely basis (before the end of the Annual Enrollment Period or Annual Coordinated Election Period), these people find that they do not receive their New Member or Part D plan Welcome information before the beginning of the next year or enrollment period. The reason behind many Part D coverage delays is that there are errors in the Part D enrollment application.
Mistakes to Avoid when Completing your Part D Enrollment Application
Remember: Even simple mistakes on your Medicare Part D enrollment application will delay or even postpone your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Here are some of the key mistakes that you should avoid when completing your Part D application.
Poor or Illegible Handwriting - Probably the biggest problem with Medicare Part D plan applications is that the Part D providers have difficulty reading the information entered into a paper Part D enrollment application. Please be sure to take your time and write legibly. If you are having trouble with completing the application ask assistance from a family member, friend, neighbor or even a health care-giver. If some part of your Medicare Part D enrollment application is not legible - then the Part D plan provider (or insurance provider) will try to call for further clarification
Using last year's enrollment application -When you are enrolling for the next year's Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, be sure to use the enrollment application form that is marked for that year. The enrollment form design changes year to year and using last year's application may mean that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will not approve your next year's Part D enrollment.
A Post Office (PO) box mailing address was given as the personal residence- The address entered into the Part D enrollment application form must be a deliverable US Mail postal address.
Your Name or Medicare Number on the enrollment application form does not match your red, white, and blue Medicare ID Card -Double check to ensure that the name you use on the Medicare Part D enrollment form exactly matches the name on your Medicare card. If your name is "Walter", but you are known as "Buddy" to everyone, be sure that you put "Walter" on your Part D application. Please also be sure that your Medicare ID number is correct with the proper letter after the number (A or B or ...) - be sure not to use your spouse's ID card for the number.
Whew - hard to believe that there are so many ways to make a mistake in only a three or four page application form! - We have a few more tips right below ...
If you wish to pay your monthly premiums by using the automatic bank withdraw option - send a VOIDED check - Many people are choosing to have their monthly Part D premiums withdrawn directly from their checking account. If you choose this option, please be sure to submit a VOIDED check. Do not submit a deposit slip. If spouses are enrolling in the same Part D plan, they will complete separate Part D enrollment applications and both will attach a VOIDED check if they both wish to have the automatic bank withdraw option. Remember, never send any money with your Medicare Part D enrollment application. Also, be sure to select only one billing option!
You forgot to sign the completed Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan enrollment form - Be sure to sign your Medicare Part D enrollment application form. If you are the legal representative who is completing the application on behalf of someone else, be sure to have the documentation of your legal representation available. Some Part D plans require that a copy of the Power of Attorney form or other legal document is sent with the Part D application when someone other than the enrollee has signed the form. Other plans ask only that you have the legal representative documentation available in case they should ask for it.
Yes, there are more possible ways to make enrollment mistakes! - Please see the next section below ...
Enrollment Mistakes and the Selection of the Correct Enrollment Period
Selecting the wrong enrollment period - This is a tricky issue that does not apply to some prescription drug plan enrollment applications - some Part D providers leave the selection of your enrollment period up to the agent who will check over the application. Here is a short summary of enrollment periods as a refresher:
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) - The IEP is the seven (7) month period when you first become eligible for Medicare benefits. The IEP applies to people turning 65 and people who are receiving disability benefits from Social Security. If you are just turning 65, your IEP is the three months before your birthday month, the month of your birthday, and three months after your birthday month. If you are receiving disability benefits, the seven month window is around your 24th month of receiving Social Security benefits.
Annual Coordinated Election Period or Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) - The AEP is the time each year where you can decide to change your Medicare Part D benefits or stay with the same Part D benefits. The AEP starts on October 15th and continues through December 7th.
Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) - An SEP allows a Medicare beneficiary to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan outside of the normal Annual Enrollment Period. SEPs include: Involuntary loss of creditable group prescription drug coverage, Involuntary loss of Part D prescription drug coverage (for instance, when you move to another Medicare region), anyone who is eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Selecting the Medicare Part D plan number or Medicare Part D premium - Some Medicare Part D prescription drug enrollment applications ask you to enter the Medicare Part D plan ID number and / or monthly premium into the Medicare Part D enrollment form. If you do not know the Plan ID number or premium in your state, you can look it up using our PDP-Finder tool.
So do I really need to enroll into a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?
What if I currently don't take any medication and don't need prescription coverage?
Medicare Part D is a voluntary program - with an incentive to enroll when you are first eligible for Medicare. As some people who take no prescriptions note, Medicare Part D is simply insurance against future uncertainty - like car or home insurance. The downside to not enrolling is that if you do not enroll when you are first eligible, you may be subject to a life-time Late-Enrollment Premium Penalty when you decide later to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan.