Medicare Part D is the part of Medicare that covers prescription drugs.
How Does Part D Work?
Part D is administered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Plans are required to be as good as or better than the model set by Medicare however they can and usually provide coverage that is better than the minimum amount of coverage. Plans are not standardized and can vary substantially. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the plan you choose coverage your medications and is affordable.
When Can You Enroll in Part D?
The three main times you can enroll in a Part D plan are during your initial enrollment period (when you become eligible because of a medical condition or at age 65), during the Annual Election Period each year, and during a various Part D Special Enrollment Periods which depend on circumstances which may or may not be available.
Part D Initial Enrollment Period
When you become eligible to enroll in Original Medicare, you can also choose to enroll in a Part D plan. To have a Part D plan, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A OR Part B or both.
Part D Annual Election Period
Each year from October 15 to December 7. You can enroll in a Part D plan, and your coverage will start on January 1 of the following year.
Part D Special Enrollment Period
Part D special enrollment periods are for reasons such as: Losing employer coverage; moving out of your previous plans service area; gaining or losing Medicaid, etc.
There are time constraints to enroll into new plans. For example, if you lose employer coverage and chose to enroll in a Part D plan you must enroll within 2 months of when your group coverage ends.
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