People With Medicare
Step 6: Joining
When can I join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan?
- For most people, the time to join (or switch) Medicare plans is October 15 to December 7 of each year.
- If you turn 65 this year, you can join during the three months before the month you turn 65, your birthday month and the three months after.
- If you qualify for Extra Help with your costs, you can join a Medicare drug plan anytime.
When will Medicare start covering my drugs?
If you join during open enrollment this fall between October 15 and December 7, your drug coverage would start on January 1, 2013.If you qualify for Extra Help with costs, you can enroll anytime.Your coverage will start the first day of the month after the month you join. Example: If you join on November 2, your drug coverage would start on December 1.
Can I switch plans?
You can switch plans during the open period, October 15 - December 7 of each year. You may be able to switch to a different plan at other times of year under some circumstances.
Is there a penalty if I join now?
If you were eligible for Medicare Part A or B and you did not join a drug plan before May 15, 2006, you will probably pay a penalty. You will pay the penalty unless you qualify for the Extra Help or have other drug coverage that is as good as the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. The penalty is a 1% increase in your premium for each month after May 2006 that you were eligible for the plan and did not join it. You will pay these higher premiums for the rest of the time you have Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. If you qualify for the Extra Help, you can join anytime, without paying a penalty.
How do I join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan?
You can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan in these ways:
- Join on Medicare.gov using the Medicare.gov Plan Finder
- Join on the plan's website. Visit the website of the plan you've chosen. You may be able to join online.
On the Phone
- Call the plan you want to join. Contact the company that offers the plan you choose and either enroll over the phone or ask them to mail you an application.
- Call Medicare. You can call Medicare. 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY users, call 1-877-486-2048). Lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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