If you are not yet eligible for Medicare, your time frame for enrolling in Part D is during the Initial Enrollment Period, the seven-month period that includes your birth month, plus the three months immediately before and after your birth month. If you enroll in Medicare Part D in one of the three months prior to turning 65, your Medicare Part D coverage begins on the first day of the month that you turn 65. If you enroll during the month you turn 65, your coverage begins the first day of the next month. If you enroll in one of the 3 months after turning 65, your coverage begins the first day of the next month after you applied for your plan.
You may be subject to a penalty premium if you do not enroll in Part D during this initial enrollment period. If you currently have Medicare, you may enroll in a prescription drug plan from October 15, 2020 until December 7, 2020. If you did not enroll when you were first eligible for the benefit, you may be subject to a penalty premium. Low-income beneficiaries who are eligible for Extra Help will not face this penalty. Drug coverage will begin on January 1, 2021. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services encourages beneficiaries to enroll early to reduce the chance of problems with drug coverage beginning in January. If you are currently in a stand-alone drug plan or a managed care plan, you can enroll, switch plans or disenroll once a year during the Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP). In 2020, the ACEP will run from October 15 to December 7.
If you are in a private Medicare Advantage managed care plan, you may switch to coverage under Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) from January 1 through March 31. You also have the option of joining a Part D stand-alone plan at this time but are not required to do so. You may also change from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan.