Avoid unexpected costs by doing the research when you’re shopping for
coverage. Make sure that any prescriptions that you’re already taking are
covered. You also want to pay attention to whether your medications will be
covered by a co-pay or if you have to fulfill your annual deductible
Everyone who has Medicare can opt-in for the benefit of prescription drug
coverage. Remember that if you don’t sign up for Medicare Drug Coverage
at first, it’s likely that you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty when
you decide to join in the future.
You can avoid this fine if you have another creditable prescription or if
you get Extra Help. You automatically qualify for Extra Help if you have both
Medicare and Medicate, you’re in a Medicare Savings Programs, or if you get
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
There are two options available; a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)
or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C).
The first option, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), is also often
called a PDP. It adds drug coverage to Original Medicare, Cost Plans, Private
Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans, and Medicare Savings Account (MSA) Plans.
Part D can be purchased in conjunction with a Medicare Supplement Plan or as
a standalone plan. They have a monthly premium in addition to what you already
pay. That said, this type of prescription drug plan is smart to manage the
costs of medication that you’re already taking.
If you’re entitled to Part A or enrolled in Part B of Original Medicare,
you’re eligible for a Part D plan. Your effective date and premium will depend
on when you enroll.
Medicare Advantage Plan
You can also get drug coverage if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part
C). Also referred to as MA-PDs, these plans offer you Hospital Insurance (Part
A), Medical Insurance (Part B), and cover prescription drugs. You have to have
Part A and B to join any Medicare Advantage Plan.
Before you decide on anything, there are a few additional considerations.
You may be eligible for other types of insurance through the following:
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
The Indian Health Service
Medicare Supplement Insurance
Speak to your benefits administrator or plan provider before you make any
changes in your current policy or decide to enroll in a Medicare
prescription drug plan.
Most private health insurance plans pay a portion of your
drug costs. If you already have a policy, but your medications are not included
in the plan’s formulary, you can purchase a stand alone prescription drug plan.
The cost of these policies vary.
When you’re in the market for standalone drug coverage, be
wary. Some companies provide discounts on medication but aren’t exactly