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If you decide that you need to change your Medicare Part D Plan, or join a plan for the first time, you need to be aware of when you can change plans. There is an “Annual Enrollment Period” when you can join but there are exceptions as well. You are able to do so when you are first eligible for Medicare. This is a seven month period that begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and then continues through the three months after you turn 65.
If, however, you have Medicare because you have a disability, you can join a Medicare Part D plan three months before to three months after your 25th month of disability. You then will have another chance during the normal seven month period described above, when you turn 65.
You can also change coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period, between November 15 and December 31, 2010. In this case new coverage begins January 1, 2011. You can also enroll anytime if you qualify for “Extra Help,” which refers to those who meet certain criteria related to finances.
In the fall of 2011 things will change. The Annual Enrollment Period dates change to give you a bit more time to join or choose a new Part D Plan. The new dates are from October 14, 2011 through December 7, 2011. Coverage will then begin January 1, 2012.