To enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you must choose from private plans available in your service area. Make sure to look at all the costs, including the deductible, premium, and copayments/coinsurance. Your costs throughout the year will depend on which drugs you take, whether your plan covers them, and whether there are any coverage restrictions. You may want to have a list of questions to ask about each plan to help ensure your needs are met.

In most cases, you can only enroll in prescription drug coverage during certain enrollment periods. It is a good idea to enroll early during an enrollment period to make sure that your new coverage starts when it should.

Note: If you have Extra Help or live in a nursing home, you will have the option of changing your drug Part D coverage once per month.

Ways to receive Part D benefits

How you can get drug coverage depends on how you get your Medicare health benefits:

  • Original Medicare: If you have Original Medicare, you will typically enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan to receive drug benefits.
    • If you are enrolled in a Medicare Medical Savings Accounts (MSA), Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan without drug coverage, or Medicare Cost Plan, you can also join a PDP.
  • Medicare Advantage Plan (such as an HMO or PPO): If you are enrolled in an MA Plan, it will typically provide your drug benefits as well as your health benefits.

Part D enrollment

To enroll in a Part D plan, you can do any of the following:

  1. Call 1-800-MEDICARE. Counselors are available to guide you through your options and enroll you in a plan. It is a good idea to enroll through 1-800-MEDICARE to avoid administrative errors.
  2. Use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool to compare plans and enroll.
  3. Call the plan you wish to enroll in, and a representative can help you.

Know that you can choose to have the Part D premium, which varies by plan, taken out of your monthly Social Security check, or you can pay your plan directly each month. If you choose to have your premiums withdrawn from your Social Security check, you may sometimes notice a delay in payment. However, your plan cannot disenroll you or bill you for the premium because of that delay.