If you are taking prescription drugs for your health, then you know how expensive they can get. Without some kind of drug coverage, you may not even be able to afford these important medications.
Prescription Drug Coverage, also called Medicare Part D, can help alleviate some or all of the burden that comes with paying for pricey medications. But not all Medicare Part D policies cover the same drugs. So it’s important to know which plans cover which drugs. Talking to a licensed Medicare agent can rest assured that you get the drugs you need at an affordable price.
What is Part D?
Medicare Part D, also known as a Prescription Drug Plan, or PDP, provides help with the cost of prescription drugs. This can be provided through private insurance companies or select Medicare Advantage Plans that include drug coverage.
Some plans will pay for certain drugs entirely, while other plans will only require you to pay your copays. It’s important to know that not every drug on the market is covered by Medicare Part D. Certain drugs, like weight loss medications, are not covered by any policy.
What is Covered by Prescription Drug Plans?
Medicare Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies, which means they can vary greatly in coverage. All Part D plans will provide some type of coverage for prescription drugs, but the extent of coverage, requirements, restrictions, and drug coverage varies.
The federal government has set guidelines to ensure that certain drugs are covered under all Medicare Part D plans. However, before selecting a Part D plan, it is important to know what prescriptions you take, and which ones you may need in the future in order to ensure that the plan you choose covers the prescriptions you take.
Coverage may also vary by location, some plans will only cover specific pharmacies, and others will only cover you in certain areas. For those who travel regularly, it is important to find a plan that will provide coverage regardless of pharmacy location.
Who is Eligible for PDPs?
All Medicare recipients are eligible for Medicare Part D. If you are entitled to Medicare Part A or are enrolled in Medicare Part B, you cannot be turned down for a Medicare Part D plan during your initial enrollment period. As soon as you become eligible for Medicare, you can join Part D. Typically, eligibility is determined by age for those 65 or older, or individuals who have other qualifying conditions.
How Much Do Prescription Drug Plans Cost?
The cost of Medicare Part D varies from one plan to another because it is offered through a variety of private companies. It is important to have an agent at Braden Insurance shop around for Part D plans because the costs can vary greatly, even or the same coverage.
Some of the costs associated with Medicare Part D include:
- Deductibles - Medicare has out a maximum deductible of $415 for 2019.
- Premiums - The basic plan premium for 2019 is $33.19 per month.
When to Enroll in Medicare Drug Coverage
It is best to sign up for a Part D plan as soon as you become eligible. In some circumstances, members may be charged a penalty or face higher premiums if they sign up after their initial eligibility.
There are a couple of different times to sign up for Medicare Part D coverage, including:
When you turn 65
You have the option to sign up for Part D Prescription Drug Plan when you are initially eligible for Medicare by turning 65. This eligibility period is a 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month of your birthday, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.
If you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits
If you are eligible for disability benefits, you are also eligible for Medicare prescription drug coverage. You can sign up for coverage once you have been on Social Security or RRS benefits for two years.
General Enrollment Periods
Each year, there are two general enrollment periods when anyone who is enrolled in Medicare Part A or B can sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The first period begins in April and continues through June. The second open enrollment is in October and continues through the first week of December. This is the easiest time to plan for coverage and change your enrollment options.
During this time, you have the option to change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, or vice versa. You can also switch Medicare Advantage Plans and join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.
Few exceptions allow enrollment outside of an enrollment period, but it is important to enroll as soon as possible to avoid potential penalty fees.
It is important to have the coverage and the benefit plan that best fits your budget and your needs. To sign up, add, change, or drop coverage, you need to talk with a Medicare agent so you can be prepared for these important time periods each year.
Don’t Wait to Sign Up for Drug Coverage
Many Medicare eligible recipients go without their potentially life-saving medications because they can not afford them. Don’t let this happen to you.
Medicare Part D can be an extremely beneficial addition to your Medicare Coverage. Finding the right plan at the right price will ensure you never go without your important prescription drugs.
Talk to one of the friendly agents at Braden Insurance to find out more about how Medicare Part D can save you money.