Sign up for Medicare Part D
Once you enroll in Medicare, it is very important to Sign up for Medicare Part D. A skilled Medicare agent can make choosing the best Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan) reasonably quick and easy. Anyone who does not have credible Part D coverage when they are eligible for Medicare is subject to a lifelong penalty.
What does Medicare Part D cover:
Medicare Part D plans are prescription drug coverage. This coverage is available to eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Part D coverage is provided by private insurance companies that are contracted with the federal government. There are 2 ways to enroll in Part D coverage. First, beneficiaries may enroll in a PDP, stand-alone prescription drug plan, in addition to traditional Medicare. The second choice is to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, MAPD these plans include Part D coverage.
Who is eligible for Medicare Part D:
If you are enrolled in either Medicare Part A or Part B and live in the Part D plan’s service area, you are eligible to enroll in a plan. Additionally, certain individuals with limited income and resources are eligible for “extra help”. Extra help provides help paying for drug plan premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and other costs. Click here to learn more about “Extra Help” and how to apply.
When can you enroll in Part D:
To avoid late enrollment penalties, timely Medicare Part D enrollment is imperative. There are two primary enrollment periods.
The IEP or Initial Enrollment Period is a 7-month period. It starts three months before you turn 65, includes your birth month, and ends three months after your birthday. Please note; if you qualify for Medicare due to a disability, you may have different enrollment periods.
AEP or Annual Enrollment Period occurs each year from October 15th to December 7th. During the AEP, you can make changes to your existing Part D coverage, such as switching plans or adding coverage.
How to choose a Medicare Part D Plan:
This is an extremely important part of your Part D enrollment. If you choose the wrong plan, it can be a very costly mistake. Each plan offers different coverage options. Selecting the right Part D plan is crucial, as each plan may have different premiums, coverage options, and their own network of pharmacies. Please consider the following when making a plan choice:
Make a list of all the medications you are currently on. You may want to add in anything that your doctor will prescribe in the following months. Be sure to include the dosage and the frequency that you take them. This helps to find plans that cover your medications.
An insurance agent can show you a comparison of the best plan options for your needs. If you do not have an agent, use the Medicare Plan Finder tool on the official Medicare website. Be aware of all costs including; premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance costs. You need to consider the total cost of each plan option.
Look at the plan’s formulary. This is a list of drugs covered by each plan. Double check that your medications are on the list and make a note of any restrictions on your prescriptions.
Be sure the pharmacy you use is a preferred in-network. If it is not see if there are alternative pharmacies close by that are preferred in-network so you can receive the best pricing.
Check the plan’s star ratings. This is system based on overall service and coverage.
How to enroll in Part D:
Once you choose the best Medicare Part D plan to meet your prescription coverage needs, you have a few ways to enroll.
1. Online: A licensed Medicare agent may be able to enroll you using an enrollment link from their quoting engine or you can enroll by going to either Medicare.gov or the website of the carrier of the plan you selected.
2. Fill out a paper application. If you are working with an agent, they will help you fill out the necessary paperwork and send the application in for you. If you do not have an agent, you can submit the application using the instructions provided by the carrier.
3. Enroll over the phone. You can call the plan carrier or call 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-Medicare).
Beware of late enrollment penalties:
If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period or do not have creditable prescription drug coverage for over 63 days, you may wind up with a late enrollment penalty. This penalty is added to your Part D premium and remains in effect for as long as you have Part D coverage. Please note; if you receive extra help, this penalty does not apply.