When Do I Sign Up for Part D Prescription Drug Plans?

In order to sign up for Part D, you must already be enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) or Part B (medical insurance) and live within the plan’s service area.

You can sign up for Part D for the first time during:

  • Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is the three months before your 65th birthday month, your 65th birthday month, and three months after your 65th birthday month. Once you enroll in Part A and B through the Social Security Administration you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to sign up for the Part D plan of your choice.
  • April 1 to June 30. If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period and signed up for Part A and Part B during the Open Enrollment Period (January 1 through March 31 each year) then you can sign up for Part D for the first time between April 1 and June 30 of that same year.
  • Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If eligible, you can use a SEP to sign up for Part D for the first time. There are many different SEPs that apply to different situations, such as if you had employer drug coverage that terminated.

You can change your Part D coverage during:

  • Annual Enrollment Period. If you are already enrolled in a Part D plan, you can make changes to your coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period, which spans October 15 through December 7 of each year. Your Part D coverage becomes effective January 1 of the following year. Part D plans may change their costs and formularies from year-to-year, so it is important to review your current plan and Annual Notice of Change to learn if premium or deductible prices will change and if your drugs will still be covered next year.
    • Note: You can also use the Annual Enrollment Period to enroll in Part D for the first time as long as you already have Part A and/or Part B.
  • Special Enrollment Period. There are a number of SEPs that allow you to change your Part D coverage. You should speak with a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor if you think you may qualify for a SEP, such as if you move and need to enroll in a new plan in a new service area. Call 877-839-2675 or visit www.shiptacenter.org to contact your SHIP.

Read Next: What Happens if I End Up Not Liking the Plan I Picked During the Annual Enrollment Period?
Find Out: How Does the Medicare Plan Finder Work?
Return to: Medicare Part D

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