If you are eligible for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B (because you are 65 or have a disability), you are also eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage (PDP or MAPD
When you become eligible for Medicare, you will have a Medicare Part D Initial Enrollment Period (or IEP) during the seven (7) month period around the month when you become eligible for Medicare benefits - that is three months before the month when you become eligible - the month of Medicare eligibility - and three months after the month of eligibility.
But, no matter how early you enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, your drug plan benefits can begin no earlier than the first day of the month of your Medicare eligibility.
A note about the late-enrollment penalty
If you decide not to join
a Medicare Part D plan after the end of your IEP and then later join a Medicare Part D plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP), you may be subject to a late-enrollment penalty
for each month that you are without creditable drug coverage.
Medicare before reaching 65 and your second IEP
If you receive Medicare benefits due to a disability, you actually receive a second
Medicare Part D initial enrollment period (IEP2) when you turn 65 and you will again have a seven month window of time to join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan around the month when you turn 65 (three months before the month when you turn 65 plus the month you turn 65 plus three months after the month you turn 65) .
And if you choose to join a Medicare Part D plan when you turn 65 (during your second IEP), you will not be subject to any past late enrollment penalties
- even if you did not enroll in Medicare when you first became eligible due to your disability (please see Medicare example below).
Question: Where can I learn more about the IEP2 and a previous late enrollment period?
See our Frequently Asked Question (FAQ): "If I receive Medicare benefits before age 65 and don't join a Medicare drug plan, will I pay a late-enrollment penalty if I decide to join a Part D plan when I turn 65?" found at https://Q1FAQ.com/203.html
and you can review the official Medicare Part D manual information:
CHAPTER 4 Creditable Coverage Period Determinations and the Late Enrollment Penalty,
Section 10.1.3 - End of the Subsequent Part D IEP
An individual who is entitled to Medicare prior to turning age 65 (e.g.,
those who were entitled based on disability), will have a new or
subsequent Part D IEP [Initial Enrollment Period] when they become entitled to Medicare based on
age. If an enrollee attains age 65 while enrolled in a Part D plan and
has been paying an LEP [late-enrollment penalty], his/her LEP will end on the day before his/her
subsequent IEP begins
, which is three months prior to the month s/he
attains age 65.
. . .
Mrs. Brown was initially eligible for Medicare based on a
disability, but never
enrolled in a Part D plan. She will turn 65 on May
19 and her new (or subsequent) IEP will begin on February 1 and
continue through August 30. If she enrolls in a Part D plan during this
subsequent IEP, she will not be subject to an LEP
Note: If, in this example above, Mrs. Brown was already enrolled in a
Part D plan when she attained age 65, her current plan must take
appropriate actions to have the LEP removed
effective on the date that
her IEP begins, which is February 1. See §30.4.3 for more information.
https://www.cms.gov/medicare/eligibility-and-enrollment/ medicarepresdrugeligenrol/ downloads/final_cy2010_ medicareprescriptiondrug benefitmanualchapter4 _dec2009.pdf [emphasis added])