If I’m healthy and not currently taking prescription drugs, should I wait to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan?

Initial Enrollment Period:

The 7-month enrollment window for individuals just turning 65. You can enroll up to 3 months prior to your birth month, the month of your birth, and up to 3 months following your birth month.

Special Enrollment Period:

The enrollment window for those who are already eligible for Medicare, but have a special circumstance, such as moving to another state or losing employer coverage.

Annual Enrollment Period:

The set time each year when most Medicare-eligible beneficiaries who need prescription coverage for the next year must enroll in a plan.

Key Dates for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Plan information available:

October 1

Enrollment begins:

October 15

Enrollment ends:

December 7

Note: The late enrollment penalty is 1% of the national average premium for every month you were without Part D prescription drug coverage or other creditable prescription drug coverage following your initial enrollment period, or if you had a break in creditable prescription drug coverage of 63 or more consecutive days. Creditable prescription drug coverage (for example, from an employer or union) means that it is expected to pay, on average, as much as Medicare’s standard prescription drug coverage. You will pay this late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part D coverage.

Being healthy today doesn’t mean that you won’t have medication needs tomorrow. It’s always a good idea to have prescription drug coverage in case your health situation changes.

If you already qualify for Medicare and don’t enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period or Annual Enrollment Period, you will risk not having prescription drug coverage if and when you need it down the road. Also consider that if you enroll late, or don’t enroll when you are first eligible, you may be subject to a permanent premium penalty. Learn more about the late enrollment penalty.

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Posted on: August 1, 2014
Vice President of Medicare Solutions

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