Your Medicare Part D Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a seven (7) month window of time that starts three months
your Medicare eligibility month (or 65th birthday month), plus
the month of your 65th birthday, and continues for three months
your birthday or Medicare eligibility month.
For example, if you will turn 65 on February 10th, your "Initial Enrollment Period" starts on November 1st (3 months before your birthday month) and continues through May 31st (3 months
after your birthday month).
You can use this same 7-month Initial
Enrollment Period window to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD - with drug coverage or MA - without drug coverage).
Continuing the example
, if you will be 65 in February, your "Initial
Enrollment Period" runs from November through May - however, your Medicare plan coverage cannot start any sooner than
the first day of your birthday month (or February). After your eligibility month, coverage will begin the 1st day of the month after enrollment. So if you enroll in a Medicare Part D plan in February, your
coverage will begin on the first day of the month following your
enrollment or March 1st.What if you sign up for a Medicare plan early and then change your mind as you get closer to your Medicare eligibility month? Are you allowed to choose another Medicare plan before the plan starts?No.
Once you choose a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan during your IEP, then you will not be given an opportunity to choose another plan, even if your health or medication needs change.Bottom line:
If your health is changing, you may wish to enroll in a Medicare plan closer to your Medicare eligibility date so that you are able to choose the Medicare plan that most economically meets your health and prescription needs. For example, enroll in mid-January for a February 1st start or effective date.Important
If you want to have Medicare coverage starting on the first day of your
birthday month (February), you should sign up for Medicare no later
then the end of January.
If your birthday is on the first of the month (February 1st), then your coverage would start the first day of the month before your birthday (January 1st).
I do not use any medications and have no health issues, so when should I join a Medicare plan?
If you have no health concerns, you can enroll earlier for a February 1st
effective date or wait and enroll later (such as at the end of the IEP)
if you do not anticipate needing the Medicare plan coverage - and wish to save on Medicare plan premiums. Also Important:
If you miss
your Medicare Part D Initial Enrollment Period, and then later join a Medicare Part D plan, you may be subject to a permanent late-enrollment premium penalty. Please read our FAQ: "I
did not enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when I was first eligible, how
will I calculate my Medicare Part D late-enrollment premium penalty?