When to Join, Switch, or Drop Medicare Part D

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Medicare Education Services, Pottstown, advises seniors on federal prescription drug programs.
06 Medicare Education Services -

Medicare drug plans (Part D) add coverage for pharmaceuticals to original Medicare, whose prescription plans can vary in cost and coverage.

The drug coverage provided by Medicare Advantage Plans is explained on the Medicare Educational Services website.

Initial Enrollment

Seniors can join a Medicare drug plan when they first become eligible for Medicare.

As a prerequisite, however, they must be enrolled in Medicare Part A, Part B, or both to join a separate Medicare drug plan.

For those about to turn 65:

  • Enrollment is possible three months before the month of a 65th birthday. Coverage begins after reaching that 65-year-old milestone
  • Enrollment is also allowable in the month of a 65th birthday and up to three months beyond. Coverage kicks in the month after enrollment

For those younger than 65 but who have a disability:

  • Enrollment is allowable up to three months before the 25th month of receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Coverage begins on the 25th month under SSDI
  • Enrollment can also be enacted during the 25th month of receiving SSDI — or up to three months later. Coverage begins the month after enrolling.

Enrollment Periods for Medicare Part D

The annual timing windows for signing up for Medicare Part D are:

  • Oct.15–Dec. 7
    • Seniors can add or drop Medicare drug coverage, switch Medicare drug plans, or switch Medicare Advantage plans that increases or decreases their drug coverage. Coverage begins Jan. 1
  • Jan. 1–Mar. 31
    • Seniors can join a separate Medicare drug plan if they drop a Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare. Coverage begins the month after signup.
  • Seniors affected by defined life changes — including a change of address and the loss or add of coverage — can change their Medicare drug plans during special enrollment periods

More Information

Specific questions on plan changes should be directed to Dave Morrison, licensed sales agent specializing in Medicare, at 484.424.5222 (TTY: 711) or submitted via the Medicare Education Services website.

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