As a physician, you understand better than most that prescription medications help protect both our health and quality of life. Yet prescriptions can be costly. Like all health-related expenses, prescription prices are rising and pose a growing challenge to retirement nest eggs.
Fortunately for those enrolled in Medicare, Part D coverage helps to significantly reduce the cost of medications. However, there are strict limitations on when you can enroll. To save the most on your prescriptions, it’s all about timing.
The Best Time to Enroll
The best time to enroll in Medicare Part D is when you first become eligible for Medicare. If you are at or near your 65th birthday and you do not have creditable prescription coverage through your employer or individual health insurance plan, you should sign up for Medicare Part D during what is known as your initial enrollment period (IEP). Your initial enrollment period lasts for 7 months. It starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Enrolling during your initial enrollment period will protect you against any late enrollment penalties. The cost of the late enrollment penalty is calculated based on the number of months that you went without coverage, even though you were eligible to enroll. The penalty can be substantial, will increase over time, and is permanent. That’s why, unless you already have prescription drug coverage, you should consider enrolling in Medicare Part D as soon as you are eligible.
If you are already enrolled in Medicare and have questions about Part D coverage or part D penalties, our advisors will be happy to assist you.
Special Enrollment Periods
The initial enrollment period may be the best time to enroll, but it isn’t the only time you can enroll. If you have recently experienced certain changes in coverage, you may qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). The special enrollment period is generally only open for 60 days. Here are a few examples of situations that may qualify you for a special enrollment period:
- If you are already enrolled in original Medicare but recently retired or lost creditable prescription coverage for any reason, you can sign up for a Medicare Part D plan within 60 days of losing your coverage.
- If you recently moved and your new address is outside of your Part D coverage area, you can sign up for a new Part D plan within 60 days of your move.
- If for some reason, your current Part D plan withdraws service from your area, you can switch to another plan.
If you are already enrolled in original Medicare and think you may qualify for a Part D special enrollment period, please contact one of our advisors for a free consultation.
Annual Enrollment Period
If you already have a Part D plan, there is another date you should keep in mind. If you aren’t happy with your plan or the service you are receiving, you can change plans during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, which opens between October 15 and December 7. Any changes you make will go into effect on January 1.
Serving Members All Year Long
Although some products have limited enrollment opportunities, TMA Insurance Trust advisors are available all year long to help with your insurance needs. If you have questions or are looking for coverage, one of our advisors will be happy to provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. TMA Insurance Trust has helped thousands of TMA members, their medical practice staff, and their dependents find the insurance coverage they need. Contact us today.
For over 60 years, TMA Insurance Trust advisors have been serving Texas physicians, their families and staff. TMA Insurance Trust prides itself on offering unbiased information and strategies to members, along with exclusive group rates on a range of the highest-rated plans in the industry.