Medicare Part D Plan Options
To change Medicare Part D plans, there are specific windows of time, known as enrollment periods, that allow you to change your current Medicare coverage. To make changes outside these enrollment windows, medical underwriting may be required. If you miss the enrollment dates when you are first eligible, there is also a Part D Penalty that will be in place permanently for as long you are on Medicare.
Part D Enrollment Periods
Medicare enrollment periods stay the same every year, but your coverage needs can change. Below is a chart explaining each enrollment period and what it is for. Keep reading to get important information on prescription drug coverage so you can:
- eliminate coverage gaps
- explore coverage options timely
- find plans that are best fits for you
- avoid that annoying, permanent Part D penalty
It’s very important to be well informed on when you can change Medicare Part D plans. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stipulates 3 specific periods when changes can be made with Prescription Drug Plans:
|Who it’s for||When is it||What it’s for|
|Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)||Beneficiaries eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B for the first time||Enrolling in Medicare Part A and/or B, Part D, Medicare Advantage (MA)|
|Annual Election Period (AEP)||Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs)||October 15 – December 7||Enrolling, disenrolling, making plan changes to MA and Part D plans|
|Special Enrollment Period (SEP)||Beneficiaries with special situations, such as: ||Varies depending on qualifying circumstance. Talk with your agent to learn more.|
Change Medicare Part D Plans Outside Enrollment Windows
If you find yourself outside the IEP and AEP, you may fall under the “Special Circumstances” category. Contact a Medicare agent who can quickly and easily tell you if your specific situation fits under one of the qualifiers for SEP.
For those who want to change plans, but aren’t able to take advantage of any of the enrollment period options, there may still be options available for you depending on your plan.
If you’re not sure where to even begin, but want to be diligent in finding the best coverage plan for your unique situation at the right time, talk with an agent. All consultations are completely free and you are under no obligation to make any plan changes or decisions. Medicare can be confusing and agents are here to remove frustration, bring clarity, and provide some good old-fashioned service.
How to Prepare for the Call
So that the agents can best assist you in navigating enrollment windows and coverage options, here are some quick tips:
- In order to enroll in a Part D plan, you must be enrolled in Part A and/or Part B of Medicare.
- You need to be living in the service area you are seeking to get coverage in.
- If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, or a stand-alone Part D plan, have that information available as well.
- List of prescription drugs you are currently taking will help the agent evaluate best plan options for you.