Signing Up For A Medicare Part D Plan
Medicare Part D drug coverage is optional and available to anyone with Medicare Part A and Part B.
Two Ways to Get Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
In both cases, you must already be enrolled in Original Medicare.
You can explore and compare available Part D plans on the Medicare website.
You can also call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program for free help.
Once you find a plan that meets your needs, there are a few ways to sign up.
Four Ways to Sign Up for a Part D Drug Plan
To sign up for a Medicare Part D plan, you will need your Medicare number and the date your Part A and Part B coverage started. You can find this information on your Medicare card or on MyMedicare.gov.
Other Information You Need to Provide
- Your primary mailing address
- Whether you had or have other drug coverage
- How you want to pay your premiums
Coverage usually begins the first day of the month after enrollment.
If you switch plans during the open enrollment period , your new coverage will start Jan. 1.
You Can Sign Up Online
Many seniors sign up for Medicare by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting a Social Security office. Those methods are a fine way to enroll, but they may prove time-consuming. A better bet could be to enroll online. Doing so should take less than 30 minutes, and the process is easy.
You’ll start by creating an account on the Social Security Administration’s website. You’ll need to provide some personal information, such as your Social Security number, and answer some other questions to confirm your identity. You’ll be asked whether you want to sign up for Medicare alone or Medicare in conjunction with Social Security, and if you’re not ready to start collecting benefits, you can opt for Medicare by itself.
Turning 65 And Have Retiree Coverage
If a beneficiary is eligible for a retiree plan through their or their spouses previous employer, that retiree plan comes secondary to Medicare. It is important for retirees to still have Medicare A and B active . Typically, the retiree plan will have contacted you and walked you through what you need to do in order to enroll into their plan. And, that typically requires you to enroll into Medicares Parts A and B.
Sometimes, the retiree plan is a good secondary plan to Medicare but it is still important to weigh your options to make sure you are not overspending and you are getting the coverage that you need. We do see the classic retiree plans get a bit worse and worse as time goes by so its important to pay attention to your co-pays and total premiums so that you can make a good comparison to what you can secure in the open market if you will. Often, a retiree medical plan will have stronger prescription coverage so pay extra attention to that area.
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Documents Needed If You Sign Up In Person
- An original or certified copy of your birth certificate or other proof of birth
- Proof of United States citizenship or legal residency if not born in the U.S.
- Your Social Security card if you are already receiving benefits
- A copy of your most recent W-2 form and/or self-employment tax return
- U.S. military discharge papers if you served before 1968
- Health insurance information
Applying For Medicare Online
Applying for Medicare online is a quick and easy process on the Social Security website, taking approximately ten minutes. After you have applied for Medicare online, you can check the status of your application and/or appeal, request a replacement card, and print a benefit verification letter.
Once you apply for Part B, give us a call so we can help you choose a supplement plan to cover what Medicare doesnt.
If youre not comfortable applying for Medicare online, you can do so over the phone.
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When Is The Medicare Part D Annual Election Period:
If you did not enroll in prescription drug coverage during IEP, you can sign up for prescription drug coverage during the Annual Election Period that runs every year from October 15 to December 7.
During AEP, you can:
- Sign up for a Medicare prescription drug plan.
- Drop a Medicare prescription drug plan.
- Join a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that doesnt include prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage plan that does .
Outside of the Part D Initial Enrollment Period and the Annual Election Period, usually the only time you can make changes to prescription drug coverage without a qualifying Special Election Period is during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period but only if you are dropping Medicare Advantage coverage and switching back to Original Medicare. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31.
Medicare Part A and Part B do not include prescription drug coverage, and if you switch back to Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you will have until March 31 to join a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan.
Ask: Have My Health Care Needs Changed
Things change in life, and some changes may affect the kind or amount of health care you need. For example:
- A new diagnosis might mean more doctor visits or new medications
- An advancing illness may increase the number or length of hospital stays or require home care
- Additional medications may be needed to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or heart disease
- Maybe you have a planned surgery coming up.
Examples like these can help get you thinking, but whats important is to look carefully at your health care needs past, present and, as much as possible, future. Only then can you choose the type of coverage and specific plans that may best meet your personal needs.
Once you have a good handle on your health care needs, its time to look at your current coverage.
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Be Aware Of Other Enrollment Periods
Most people sign up for Medicare during the seven-month initial enrollment period around their 65th birthday.
But what if you missed your initial enrollment period and want to make changes or add additional coverage?
There are specific times each year when you can do this.
Alternate Medicare Enrollment Periods
Medicare Other Insurance And How We Can Help
Did you know you can enroll in Medicare even if you have other kinds of insurance such as Medicaid, VA benefits, and employer-sponsored health insurance? That said, some of these types of insurance work better with Medicare than others. In some cases, they may affect your ability to enroll in Medicare.
To find out how to choose the right Medicare coverage and understand how it will interact with health insurance you may already have, call the number below. A licensed Medicare expert can answer your Medicare eligibility questionsand help you enroll.
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When To Enroll In Medicare If I Dont Want Medicare Part B:
If youre automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B, but do not wish to keep it you have a few options to drop the coverage. If your Medicare coverage hasnt started yet and you were sent a red, white, and blue Medicare card, you can follow the instructions that come with your card and send the card back. If you keep the Medicare card, you keep Part B and will need to pay Part B premiums. If you signed up for Medicare through Social Security, then you will need to contact them to drop Part B coverage. If your Medicare coverage has started and you want to drop Part B, contact Social Security for instructions on how to submit a signed request. Your coverage will end the first day of the month after Social Security gets your request.
If you have health coverage through current employment , you may decide to delay Medicare Part B enrollment. You should speak with your employers health benefits administrator so that you understand how your current coverage works with Medicare and what the consequences would be if you drop Medicare Part B.
Medigap Plan C And Plan F Changed In 2020
A slight but important change was made to the selection of standardized 2020 Medigap plans available in most states.
Plan C and Plan F are no longer available to new Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020.
But anyone who became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020, will not be allowed to enroll in either of those two plans.
Anyone currently enrolled in Plan C or Plan F will be allowed to keep their plan going forward.
This 2020 Medigap plans change comes as a result of federal legislation that prohibits full coverage for the Medicare Part B deductible. Plan C and Plan F are the only standardized Medigap plans that provide this benefit.
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How To Sign Up For Medicare Heres What You Need To Know
You can enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B in the following ways:
- Online at www.SocialSecurity.gov.
- In-person at your local Social Security office.
If you worked at a railroad, enroll in Medicare by contacting the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 . You can call Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM, to speak to an RRB representative.
Signing Up For Medicare Might Make Sense Even If You Have Private Insurance
If youre about to turn 65 and you have private health insurance coverage, you may be wondering if you need to sign up for Medicare. The short answer is it depends. You might be able to delay enrolling in some parts of Medicare however, not signing up for other parts can cost you.
Navigating Medicares options, enrollment deadlines, and requirements can be confusing. But its important to know when you need to apply for coverageespecially if you have other health insurance coverageso you dont get hit with costly penalties. Heres how Medicare works, what to consider when you already have health insurance, and how to avoid penalties for late enrollment.
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Although You Don’t Need To Renew Medicare Every Year It’s Smart To At Least Review Your Options During The Annual Enrollment Period
As long as you continue to pay any applicable premiums, you should not need to sign up for or re-enroll in Medicare coverage every year. This is the case whether youre enrolled in Original Medicare, a Part C Medicare Advantage plan, or Part D prescription drug plan. Unless you fall into one of the few exceptions, your coverage should automatically renew every year.
Read on to learn when you may have to reapply or re-enroll in your Medicare plan to avoid late enrollment penalties and fees, and ensure you have the coverage you need when you need it.
Im Working Past 65 But My Health Coverage Is From My Spouses Employer
A pretty common situation to face, if your health care coverage is from a spouses employer, you may be able to delay Medicare or you may need to enroll when you first become eligible. In this case, the employer still needs to have 20 or more employees. However, the big difference is that employers can have rules for covered dependents 65 and older that may require the individual to get Medicare at 65 in order to remain on the employer plan.
Therefore, if you have employer coverage through a spouses employer, you need to ask the employers benefits administrator directly about your Medicare enrollment choices.
Medicare Eligibility By Disability
Most Medicare recipients under the age of 65 reach eligibility during their 25th month receiving Social Security disability benefits. If you qualify for Medicare because of a disability, your Initial Enrollment Period will begin during the 22nd month you receive these benefitsthree months before youre eligible for coverage.
What Is The Medicare Advantage Plan Initial Coverage Election Period:
Most beneficiaries are first eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Initial Coverage Election Period. Unless you delay Medicare Part B enrollment, this enrollment period takes place at the same time as your Initial Enrollment Period , starting three months before you have both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B and ending on whichever of the following dates falls later:
- The last day of the month before you have both Medicare Part A and Part B, or
- The last day of your Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment Period.
If youre under 65 and eligible for Medicare due to disability, your IEP will vary depending on when your disability benefits started.
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Signing Up For Premium
You can sign up for Part A any time after you turn 65. Your Part A coverage starts 6 months back from when you sign up or when you apply for benefits from Social Security . Coverage cant start earlier than the month you turned 65.
After your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you can only sign up for Part B and Premium-Part A during one of the other enrollment periods.
Theres A Push For Change
If the rules governing the transition to Medicare sound complicated, rest assured that experts agree. Moving into Medicare from other kinds of health insurance can be so complicated that it should be a required chapter in Retirement 101, Mr. Moeller said.
The only government warning about the risks associated with late enrollment comes in the form of a very brief notice near the end of the annual Social Security Administration statement of benefits.
The Medicare Rights Center and other advocacy groups have proposed legislation that would require the federal government to notify people approaching eligibility about enrollment rules, and how Medicare works with other types of insurance. The legislation the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification Act, also would eliminate coverage gaps now experienced by enrollees during the Initial Enrollment Period and General Enrollment Period. The legislation was introduced in Congress last year, and will be reintroduced this year.
In the meantime, Mr. Baker proposes a simple rule of thumb to help people approaching Medicare eligibility to avoid costly errors.
If you are eligible for Medicare, you should really consider it to be your default, primary coverage. If you are going to decline Medicare, think very carefully and take the time to really understand all the rules.
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When Is My Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
For most people, enrolling in Medicare Part A is automatic. However, there are several instances where you may have to manually enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period , the seven-month period that begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month of your 65th birthday, and ends three months later.
Some situations where you would enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment include:
Do Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans Renew Automatically
Yes, coverage is guaranteed renewable on an automatic basis as long as premium payments are maintained. Again, it is important to look into multiple polices and providers when it comes to Medicare Supplement coverage, as policies and rules can vary among states and providers.
Medicare information is everywhere. What is hard is knowing which information to trust. Because eHealths Medicare related content is compliant with CMS regulations, you can rest assured youre getting accurate information so you can make the right decisions for your coverage. Read more to learn about our Compliance Program.
NEW TO MEDICARE?
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Sign Up For A Mymedicaregov Account
After you sign up for Medicare, you can create a MyMedicare.gov account to manage your coverage.
With your MyMedicare.gov account, you can:
- Get details about the plans youre enrolled in and what they cover.
- Update your personal information.
Creating an account on MyMedicare.gov is quick and easy.
How to Sign Up for MyMedicare.gov
Sign Up: Within 8 Months After Your Family Member Stops Working
- If you have Medicare due to a disability or ALS , youll already have Part A .
- Youll pay a monthly premium for Part B , so you may want to wait to sign up for Part B.
Avoid the penalty & gap in coverageIf you miss this 8-month Special Enrollment Period, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty until you turn 65. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?
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