You can enroll in Medicare Part D during the 3 months before the month you become eligible for Medicare and up to 3 months after the month you become eligible.
You can enroll over the phone, online, or by mail. You enroll directly with the insurance company that sells the Part D plan that you want. You should have your Medicare card to enroll. If you need help deciding which Part D plan to buy, call SHIP (the State Health Insurance Assistance Program) at the Senior HelpLine – 1-800-642-5119.
If you are eligible for Medicare and have not enrolled in Part D, you will be able to enroll during the annual election period. The annual election period for Part D is from October 15 to December 7 every year.
Some people can enroll in a Part D plan at other times in the year. For example, if you move outside your plan's service area, or if you enter a skilled nursing facility or long term care hospital, or if you lose your creditable coverage, you can probably enroll in a Part D plan right away. Also, If you have Medicaid, you can enroll or switch plans once per month. Call SHIP at 1-800-642-5119 or the Health Care Advocate HelpLine at 1-800-917-7787 to find out if you can enroll outside of the Annual Election Period.
Your Part D coverage should start the first day of the month after you enroll.
What Happens If I Don't Enroll?
You must enroll in Part D during your initial enrollment period for Medicare. You will be charged a penalty if you enroll later. The penalty is 1% of the national average premium for each month that you were eligible but didn't enroll. You will have to pay this penalty every month when you pay your Part D premium. You don't have to enroll or pay a penalty if you have creditable coverage from another health insurance plan.