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Question: If I have a disability and receive Medicare benefits before age 65, can I also sign up for a Medicare Part D drug plan at the same time? What if I decide NOT to join a Part D plan, do I pay a penalty if I decide to join a Part D plan later?

Answer: If you are eligible for Medicare A and/or Medicare B, you are also eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

You have an initial enrollment period (or IEP) during a seven (7) month period around the time when you become eligible for Medicare benefits - that is three months before the month when you become eligible - the month of Medicare eligibility - and three months after the month of eligibility.  If you sign up early, Part D benefits begin on the first day of the month of your Medicare eligibility.

If you receive Medicare benefits due to a disability, you actually receive a second initial enrollment period (IEP) when you turn 65.

You will also have a seven month window of time to join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan around the month where you turn 65.  If you choose to enroll in this second IEP, you will not be penalized for late-enrollment.

So, if you have a disability and choose to join a Medicare Part D plan when you turn 65, you will not be subject to any late enrollment penalties - even if you did not enroll in Medicare when you first became eligible.


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