|Questions and Answers
|What Is Part D?
Part D is the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Option. Private companies
(providers) have contracted with Medicare to offer this benefit. The premium
costs, deductibles and co-pays for prescription drugs will vary according to
the provider's plan.
Who is eligible?
Anyone enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B is eligible for the
Medicare Prescription drug coverage. You cannot be denied coverage.
When can I enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan?
The yearly open enrollment period is from October 15th to December 7th. There
are some exceptions if you are replacing lost coverage. For new Medicare
enrollees the open enrollment period is the same as for the Part B benefit.
When will my Medicare Prescription drug plan coverage begin?
For those enrolling during their Medicare initial open enrollment period and
special open enrollments for those replacing lost coverage, your coverage will
be effective the first day of the month after the month you enroll. Generally, your open enrollment period is opnce a year, October 15th to December 7th with coverage from January 1st to December 31st with your selected Part D Plan.
Do I have to take Part D?
No, enrolling is voluntary, you do not need to sign up. If you sign up after
the initial open enrollment you may pay a penalty, except in certain
situations. You won't need to sign up for Part D if you have drug benefit
coverage that is better than Medicare's -- for example from an employer or
What is the monthly premium?
The average national monthly premium for 2013 is $31.17. But this will vary by
plan, state or region. Some plans monthly premiums are lower, some higher and
there are also differences in deductibles and co-pays per plan.
What if I already have Medicare Supplement drug coverage?
Prescription drug coverage was sold with Medicare Supplement plans prior to the year 2006.
If you purchased a plan during that time you were able to keep your Medicare Supplement
prescription coverage. But you could not have both Medicare Supplement drug coverage and
Part D. If you want to enroll in Part D you must change your Medicare Supplement coverage
to exclude the prescription drug portion of that plan, and your Medicare Supplement
premium will be reduced. You may keep drug coverage you have from another source such
as an employer or union.
Do I have to choose my own Part D Plan?
Yes, you must make your own decision on which plan is best for you, one will
not be chosen for you.
Are all plans the same?
All plans are not the same; you have a choice of plans. Medicare has contracted
with private companies to offer the prescription drug plans. These drug plans vary
in what prescription drugs are covered, how much you pay and which pharmacies you
can use. All drug plans provide a standard level of coverage set by Medicare.
However, some plans might offer more coverage and additional drugs for a higher
monthly premium. It is important for you to choose a drug plan that meets your
prescription drug needs.
How can I find a list of providers?
There are many companies providing national coverage and others
providing regional or local coverage. You can get a list of plans in your area
by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227); TTY users should call
1-877-486-2048, or visit
www.medicare.gov. You can also contact
your local office on aging. For their local telephone number, visit www.eldercare.gov.
Local pharmacies are also providing help for Medicare beneficiaries.
What if I can't afford Part D?
Some people with limited income and resources may qualify for additional help.
Contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at
www.shiptalk.org or (800) 677-1116.
How can I get help in choosing a Medicare prescription drug plan?
You can get personalized information at
www.medicare.gov on the web, or by
calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to help you make your best choice. TTY
users should call 1-877-486-2048.