How Can I Enroll in Medicare Part D?

You can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan during one of the three enrollment periods. After choosing the prescription drug plan that is right for you, you can enroll as you turn 65 years old (Initial Enrollment Period, or IEP), during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) between October 15th through December 7th, or during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If enrolling during the AEP, your plan should have detailed information on more specific enrollment options as the period nears.

Once an appropriate enrollment period approaches, there are a few steps you can take to enroll. You can choose one of the following options:

Avoiding the Part D Late Enrollment Penalty

One thing to remember when preparing to enroll in a Part D plan is the Part D Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP). This penalty makes enrolling during the proper enrollment period crucial. You will pay a monthly Part D Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP) assessed by Medicare if all of the following hold true prior to enrollment.

  • You went longer than 63 days without creditable prescription drug coverage (as good as Medicare’s).
  • The 63 days without creditable coverage was after the end of your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). In other words, you went 63 days or more after three months past your 65th birthday without coverageSee details in footnote1.
  • You did not have creditable coverage after your IEP ended

1Your IEP is the 7-month period that begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month and ends three months afterward. There is an exception: if your birthday falls on the first of any month, your 7-month IEP begins and ends one month sooner. For example, if your birthday is July 1, your 7-month IEP is the same as if you were born in June— beginning in March and ending in September.