Medicare Part D
After reading about Medicare plans A, B and C, you might still be wondering where prescription drug coverage comes in, or how can you insure coverage for your medications. You'll find the answer in this next Medicare plan, or the final plan offered through Medicare, called Part D.
What is Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage)?
Part D is prescription drug coverage insurance that is provided by private companies approved by Medicare. You need to enroll when you first become eligible to keep from paying a penalty cost later. Part D was designed to help people with Medicare to lower their prescription drug costs and to protect against future costs. A prescription drug plan will also enable you to have greater access to medically necessary drugs.
How Can You Get Part D Coverage?
There are two ways to join the Medicare prescription drug coverage plan. The first is by adding it to your Original Medicare Plan or some Medicare cost plans, private fee-for-service plans, and Medical savings account plans. The second way is to join an HMO or PPO plan that includes Part D coverage. You will usually have to pay a monthly premium that will vary according to the plan you choose.
Adding Part D to the Original Medicare Plan
If you are in the Original Medicare Plan, you may add Part D coverage. Generally, you will pay a separate premium or yearly deductible.
Adding Part D to the Medicare Advantage Plan
If you are in the Medicare Advantage Plan, then chances are you already have Part D coverage. However, a few plans do not include a drug plan; therefore, you may add Part D to those plans.
How Part D Works
After you join, you will receive a membership card and materials via mail. You will pay a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible when you use your card.
Some Part D plans have a "coverage gap." A coverage gap means when you have spent a certain amount of money, you are responsible for paying the entire cost of prescriptions while you are in the gap until you reach the out-of-pocket limit. After you meet the out-of-pocket obligation, you will only have to pay a small co-pay or co-insurance for the remainder of the calendar year.
Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs
If you can't afford Part D costs, you may qualify for additional help. Several programs are available to assist with covering additional costs such as Medigap or Medicaid if you meet the income and resource requirements.
If you already have coverage through a previous or current employer or union, you must contact your benefits administrator before you add or change your drug coverage. Joining Part D could result in the loss of your employer or union health or prescription coverage.
A prescription drug plan can really take a lot of worry out of life. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Can you afford to risk your health? Prescription medications can cost hundreds of dollars a month, or even more in some cases. It is very important that you find a plan that will suit your budget and needs to insure that you have access to the prescription drugs you need.