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Senior couple now eligible for Medicare.

When can I join, switch, or drop a drug plan?

During your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, when you first become eligible for Medicare. You can join a Medicare drug plan during the 7-month period that begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65 and ends three months after you turn 65. If you join during 1 of the three months before you turn 65, your coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn 65. If you join the month you turn 65 or 1 of the three months after you turn 65, your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you ask to join a plan.

During the seven months around your 25th month of disability. Get Medicare due to a disability. You can join a Medicare drug plan during the 7-month period that begins three months before your 25th month of getting disability, includes your 25th month of getting disability, and ends three months after your 25th month getting disability. If you join during 1 of the three months before your 25th month of disability, your coverage will begin the first day of the 25th month of disability. If you join during your 25th month of getting disability or 1 of the three months after your 25th month of getting disability, your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you ask to join a plan. You’ll have another chance to join when you turn 65 (see above).

During Open Enrollment, between October 15–December 7 each year. Your coverage begins January 1 the following year, as long as the plan gets your request during Open Enrollment.

Open Enrollment spelled out with wooden tiles this is when you can join, switch, or drop a drug plan?

Open Enrollment, between October 15–December 7.

Extra Help for Drug Plans

At any time, if you qualify for Extra Help. This includes people who have Medicare and Medicaid, belong to a Medicare Savings Program, get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and those who apply and qualify. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you are eligible for Extra Help and ask to join a plan.

Note: In certain limited circumstances, you may be able to join, drop, or switch to another Medicare drug plan at other times. For example, you may be able to change at different times if:

  • You permanently move out of your drug plan’s service area.
  • You lose creditable prescription drug coverage.
  • You enter, live in, or leave a nursing home.
  • You want to switch to a plan with a 5-star overall quality rating.
  • Quality ratings are available on Medicare.gov.
  • Your plan tells you that it’s leaving the Medicare program or Medicare has ended its contract.

If you currently have Medicare drug coverage, you may want to review your coverage each fall. If you’re happy with your coverage, cost, and customer service, and your Medicare drug plan is still offered in your area, you don’t have to do anything to continue your coverage for another year. However, if you decide another plan will better meet your needs, you can switch to a different plan.

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