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How do I enroll in a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan?

Category: Medicare Part D Enrollment
Updated: Oct, 23 2023

There are several ways to enroll into a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan - and the good news is, no matter how you enroll in a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, your cost and coverage are the same.

Here are a few popular Medicare plan enrollment alternatives:
  1. Enroll through a local insurance agent who represents your desired Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan.

    Your local insurance agent is specifically trained to represent certain Medicare plans and should be able to provide answers to many of your coverage questions, provide you with printed plan materials, and help you complete the enrollment application.  Your local insurance agent should also be available throughout the plan year to help answer questions and explain any plan changes.  To find a local insurance agent, you can look in a telephone book (if available), search on the internet, look for local advertisements, ask a friend for a recommendation, or speak with your personal insurance agent who may handle your auto or home insurance.

  2. Enroll with a local volunteer or Senior advocate or Medicare counselor.

    You usually can find a number of local volunteers, such as SHIP volunteers or volunteers at local churches or Senior Center volunteers who can help you evaluate your Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plan options.  Most volunteers receive special training that can provide you with an unbiased perspective of all available plans and the volunteers usually work with the Medicare.gov Plan Finder to complete the enrollment process.  As always, be sure that you record your enrollment confirmation number and the date of enrollment.

  3. Enroll over the telephone with an insurance agent who represents multiple Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans.

    A number of large insurance agencies or brokers provide call centers for telephone enrollment.  These call centers use licensed and certified insurance agent that may represent multiple Medicare plans in your area and can provide you with personal enrollment service over the telephone.  The advantage of using a large broker is that they may represent a number of different plans and may be able to provide you with several economical Medicare plan options.

  4. Enroll online through the Medicare.gov Plan Finder site or a Medicare plan's website or an insurance agent website representing Medicare plans.

    You can enroll online through the Medicare.gov Plan Finder website (https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/) - or directly through your chosen Medicare plan's website (such as: https://www.humana.com/medicare or https://www.aetnamedicare.com/).  You can also enroll directly online with an insurance agent's website or large insurance broker (such as https://eHealthMedicare.com) representing one or more Medicare plans.  When you enroll online, you should be provided a confirmation code at the end of the enrollment process - record this confirmation code (along with the date of enrollment) as proof of the successful online enrollment.

  5. Submit a printed Medicare plan enrollment application.

    Many people still prefer to telephone their chosen Medicare plan and ask for enrollment information that includes a printed enrollment application.  If you choose this enrollment option, you can review the printed Medicare plan information at your leisure and then mail in a completed application before the enrollment deadline -for example, well before the December 7th annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP) deadline.

      For those of you who choose to submit a printed enrollment form, here are a few tips for avoiding common application errors: "Seven tips for successfully submitting your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan enrollment form"

Our Q1Medicare enrollment suggestion:  Call a Medicare representative.

If you wish to join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (or Medicare Advantage plan), we suggest you speak with a Medicare representative about your Medicare plan eligibility and options.

To contact Medicare directly please call toll-free 1-800-633-4227 (TTY 1-877-486-2048), select the prescription drug option, and then choose the option to speak with a Medicare representative - or just clearly say "representative" several times during the automated menu options.

You may want to telephone during off-peak hours to avoid long wait times - try earlier in the morning or later in the evening.

Once connected, please explain your situation to a Medicare representative and confirm with the Medicare representative that you are eligible to join a Medicare plan at this time.

If you are eligible for enrollment, ask the representative to help you find a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that most economically covers your health and medication needs - or you can ask specific questions about a particular Medicare plan.

As you review plan options, you can ask the representative to provide you with an estimated annual cost based on your health and medication needs for any particular Medicare plan.

You can also make sure that the Medicare representative knows about the pharmacies you use or have available locally - and make sure the representative explains to you about the possible cost differences between preferred and standard network pharmacies.

If you are enrolling into a Medicare Advantage plan, please be sure that your healthcare providers are included in the plan's network (and understand that a plan's healthcare network can change at any time throughout the plan year - this means that your primary care physician (PCP) in November may no longer be a part of the plan's healthcare network in April).

If you have found an acceptable Medicare plan, and you are eligible for enrollment, the Medicare representative can then process your enrollment into any Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan directly over the telephone - and the process only takes a few minutes (when you enroll, you will be given an enrollment confirmation code that you should keep as proof of enrollment).

Please note that a Medicare representative is not compensated for a Medicare plan enrollment and provides you with an impartial view of all available Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans.

Q1Medicare tools that will help you get an overview of available Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans

(1) Medicare Part D Plan Finder
To search for a Medicare Part D plan in your area by plan features such as premium, deductible, or co-pay, you can use our Medicare Part D Plan Finder: PDP-Finder.com (choose your state to begin - click on the plan name for more information).

(2) Medicare Advantage Plan Finder
You can review all the Medicare Advantage plan options in your county using our Medicare Advantage Plan Finder: MA-Finder.com (enter your ZIP Code to begin - click on the Medicare plan name for more coverage information).

(3) Q1Rx® Drug Finder
If you are searching for a Medicare drug plan based on a specific medication, you can use our Q1Rx Drug Finder to see all Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans in your area that cover a prescription.  (Q1Rx.com)

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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 PDPCompare.com and MACompare.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.
    Statement required by Medicare:
    "We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options."
  • 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.