Medicare Part D Plans essentially give you lower prices on medications. You can enroll in a Part D plan through an insurance company in your state. Rather than paying the full cost for your prescriptions, you only pay the copays required by the plan.
Enrollment is not required, but Medicare Part D plans are very popular. Today there are more than 37 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part D coverage, per the Kaiser Family Foundation. To learn more about how and when you can enroll and what Medicare Part D plans cost, click here.
Companies Offering Medicare Part D Plans
Each state may have thirty or more options for obtaining a Part D plan. Each insurance company sets its own price and drug formulary. It also decides what the copays will be for each tier of medications. However, they do have to comply with federal requirements to ensure minimum essential levels of coverage. They must also submit their plan designs annually to Medicare for approval.
Some of the biggest brand name companies in the health insurance industry offer Medicare Part D Plans. For example, some companies include Humana, Aetna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United Healthcare Medicare Solutions and others.
It can be incredibly hard to find a prescription drug plan. The sheer number of options makes the decision confusing and complicated. At Safe Policies Insurance, we can help you identify the best Part D plan available to you by scanning all your options.
Most of the time, your Medicare Part D plan will be with a different insurance company than your Medigap plan. This is normal, and we have found that it actually makes things easier so that you don’t confuse the two coverages.
Do I Have to Enroll in Part D?
You have the choice to decide whether or not you want to enroll in Part D. You should think about not just the medications you are taking now that you may need coverage for, but also those that you may need in the future. Also, just as with Medicare Part A and B, if you fail to enroll when first eligible, you may be subject to late enrollment penalties and waiting periods until you can into a plan.
How to apply for Medicare Part D is simple. You contact a broker who specializes in Medicare insurance. Prescription drug applications can be tricky with various election periods to choose from. You don’t want to get any of this wrong or your application can easily be rejected. The help of an agent is free and will save you time and hassle.
The Medicare Part D Late Enrollment Penalty
If you fail to enroll in a prescription drug during your initial enrollment period (when you first become eligible), may result in a late penalty. The penalty is waived if you have had other other creditable coverage for prescription drugs, such as through an employer group health plan. If not, then your penalty amount depends on how long you waited to enroll in a plan. If you suddenly lose creditable coverage or retire, you will have a 63-day period to enroll in Part D without incurring a penalty.
The penalty is calculated by Medicare like this: 1% of the national average base Part D premium for every month you didn’t have coverage or any other creditable coverage. The penalty is rounded to the nearest $.10, and then added to the premium you pay for your new Part D premium. When you do finally enroll in Part D, you will pay the penalty for the rest of your life.
More importantly, if you miss your window, you cannot buy a drug plan mid-year without a special circumstance. If you develop a serious illness mid-year and need medication, you will pay the full retail cost of that medication until the next Part D annual election period. This means you would have no coverage until January 1st.