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Can I sign up for Medicare Part D at any time?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Not really. You can sign up for Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) when you first become eligible for Medicare (for most people that’s when you are between age 64 years 8 months and 65 years 3 months). This is the best time to sign up because you won’t have to pay a penalty or a higher premium.

 

If you decide not to enroll when you first become eligible, you can sign up for Medicare Part D between October 15 and December 7 each year, but as mentioned above, you may pay a penalty and a higher premium.

If you are newly eligible for Medicare, you can enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan up to three months before — and no later than three months after — the month you become eligible. If you didn’t sign up for Medicare Part D at age 65 because you had other drug coverage as good as Medicare’s, you will not have to pay a penalty for signing up late, provided you sign up for a Medicare drug plan within 63 days of dropping your other coverage. If you just didn’t sign up for Part D and currently have no drug plan, you will have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you now want to begin a Part D plan. The longer you wait to sign up, the higher your penalty — and you will have to pay the higher premium for as long as you have Part D.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.