3 ways to avoid the late enrollment penalty

1. Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan when you're first eligible.

You won't have to pay a penalty, even if you've never had prescription drug coverage before.

2. Don't go 63 days or more in a row without a Medicare drug plan or other creditable coverage.

Creditable prescription drug coverage could include drug coverage from a current or former employer or union, TRICARE, Indian Health Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or health insurance coverage. Your plan must tell you each year if your drug coverage is creditable coverage. They may send you this information in a letter, or draw your attention to it in a newsletter or other piece of correspondence. Keep this information because you may need it if you join a Medicare drug plan later. 

3. Tell your plan about any drug coverage you had if they ask about it.

When you join a Medicare drug plan, the plan will send you a letter if it believes you went 63 or more days in a row without other creditable prescription drug coverage. The letter will include a form asking about any drug coverage you had. Complete the form and return it to your drug plan by the deadline in the letter. If you don't tell the plan about your creditable drug coverage, you may have to pay a penalty.