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Can I Sign Up for Medicare Part D at Any Time?

In contrast to many Medicare questions, this one has a definite answer: No.

So, When Can I Enroll?

You can enroll during the three months before the month in which you turn 65, through the three months after you turn 65. This is called the Initial Enrollment Period. You can also sign up during the Annual Election Period or Fall Open Enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.

If you are a member of a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C of Medicare) that does not have a 5-star rating from Medicare, or loses its 5-star status, you can disenroll and go to another Medicare Advantage Plan, Original Medicare, or Part D.

You must enroll only in a 5-star Advantage or 5-star Part D plan. This option is available year-round. It only applies if you are moving from a plan with less than 5 stars to one that has 5 stars.

If you want to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare, you can do so in the period from January 1 to February 14 of each year. If your Medicare Advantage plan included prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in Part D during this period, which is called the Special Enrollment Period.

So, you have the Initial Enrollment Period, the Annual Election Period/Fall Open Enrollment Period, the 5-star special enrollment period, which is available year-round, and the Special Enrollment Period

What Else Do I Need to Know?

To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must have Medicare Parts A and B and live in the area the plan covers. The same applies to Part D. You cannot apply for Medicare Advantage if you have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), although there are few exceptions.

One consideration that may influence your choice is that Medicare Advantage Plans, unlike Original Medicare, have an out-of-pocket limit. This means that after you have paid a certain amount, you pay nothing else for the year. The limit varies from plan to plan but is around $6500. This applies to all services covered by the Medicare Advantage plan.

What Do I Do Now?

You also need to check on the impact that enrolling in Medicare A, B, C, or D will have on any other insurance coverage you may have. Some plans automatically become Medicare Supplement plans when you enroll in Medicare, most coordinate benefits with Medicare, and a few roll on as if nothing ever happened. Only the source of the other insurance can advise you here.

For specific and professional advice concerning Part D enrollment contact the experts at 1-844-236-0228.