Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D is a prescription drug benefit plan that can be added to Original Medicare. This function is used to reduce the cost of prescription drugs as well as prescription drug premiums for Medicare recipients.

How Does Medicare Part D Work?

There are two common ways to add Part D to your coverage. Some people begin with Original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement and then buy a standalone Part D plan. Others who elect for the Medicare Advantage Plan receive the included Part D benefits of the Advantage Plan. The longer you wait after Part D eligibility to enroll, the higher your penalty cost will be. This cost will be your Part D cost for the rest of your life, so it’s important to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan immediately.

Common Medicare Part D Questions

Who can enroll in Medicare Part D?

Anyone who is already enrolled in Original Medicare can enroll in Medicare Part D.

What payments are associated with Medicare Part D?

Under Medicare Part D, you will need to pay a monthly premium, yearly deductible, copayment or coinsurance, and your coverage gap.

Are all drug plans the same under Medicare Part D?

No, there may be different fees associated with different drug plans. The differences may deal with deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, premium, or covered drugs.

When do I enroll in Medicare Part D?

Your first opportunity to enroll Medicare Part D, Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, is when you’re first eligible for Medicare (during the seven-month period beginning three months before the month you turn 65). If you enrolled in Medicare due to a disability, you can enroll in a prescription drug plan during a seven-month window beginning three months prior to your 25th month of disability, and ending three months after your 25th month of disability.

If you don’t enroll during the seven-month period when you’re first eligible, you may pay a late-enrollment penalty that will raise your Part D premium when you do decide to purchase coverage.

During the Open Enrollment Period, you can also enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, switch to another Part D plan or leave Part D entirely. Again, pay close attention to the dates as they affect your options.

  • Between October 15 and December 7 – You can join a Part D plan, switch between Part D plans or drop your Part D coverage.
  • Between January 1 and February 14 – You can leave a Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Original Medicare.  If you do, you’ll have an opportunity during this time to enroll in a prescription drug plan as well.  But you cannot switch from one Part D plan to another during this period.

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