How to sign up for Medicare Part D

Enrolling in a prescription drug plan

Medicare Part D allows you to buy a stand-alone prescription drug plan offered by insurance and other private companies that are approved by Medicare. You aren’t required to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, but without some sort of prescription drug coverage, you are responsible for all of your prescription medication costs — and you can also end up paying a penalty if you try to sign up for a Part D plan later on. Medicare Part D plans can help lower prescription drug costs and help keep them predictable.

You must have Medicare Part A or B in order to sign up for Medicare Part D. In most cases, you can only enroll in Medicare Part D during certain enrollment periods.

Though it depends on your circumstances, your designated initial enrollment period is typically the best time to enroll. You may face late enrollment penalties if you wait past your initial enrollment period.

How to sign up for Medicare Part D

To enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, you choose from private plans that are available in your area. Medicare’s Plan Finder tool can easily help you compare plans and their costs, and see the list of drugs that are covered. See Mutual of Omaha Rx’s plans here.

When you sign up for Medicare Part D, whether it’s online or on the phone, you will be asked for your primary address, whether you have or had other drug coverage, and how you want to pay your premiums. One payment option is Social Security check deduction. You can also choose to pay by bank draft or credit card payment, which are available only by signing up for direct billing or by signing up after you receive your first statement.

After receiving your application, the Medicare Part D plan sponsor will send confirmation that your enrollment request was received. Plan details will be provided upon enrollment acceptance by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Once your enrollment has been accepted by CMS, the plan sponsor will mail you your Medicare Part D Welcome Kit and ID card. If you sign up for Medicare Part D during the first three months of your initial enrollment period, your coverage starts the first day of the month you turn 65. If you enroll during the month you turn 65 or in the three months following your birthday month, your coverage will be effective the first day of the month after you enroll.

For more information on how to sign up for Medicare Part D, read Understanding Your Prescription Drug Plan Under Medicare Part D.