Medicare was confusing enough before Part D came along. What is Medicare Part D and how do you enroll in it?
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage under Medicare. It was added as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. This plan is administered by private insurance companies for Medicare. You will need to pick a plan from a provider in your area and enroll with that company.
Medicare Part D has an annual deductible of $250. You will pay monthly premiums for the coverage and the amount you pay depends on the plan you choose. After you meet the annual deductible, Medicare will pay 75% of your prescription costs up to $2250 each year. After $2250 per year you will pay 100% of the cost until your out-of-pocket expenses reach $3600. After the $3600 level is reached you will pay 5% of your cost, or a $2-$5 co-pay, whichever is greater.
There are options for individuals on a fixed-income. Social Security offers a subsidy for Medicare Part D. If you qualify the subsidy will pay your annual $250 deductible and the monthly premiums. Depending on the level of subsidy you qualify for you may only have to make co-payments of $3-$5 at the pharmacy.
To find out if you qualify call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or apply online at:
Once you have applied for the subsidy, or if you are not eligible based on your income, you need to choose a plan for Medicare Part D. The best way to do this is make a list of all the medications you take, including the brands and the dosage. Call Medicare at their toll-free number (1-800-633-4227) and ask the representative for the Medicare Part D provider list in your area.
Once you have the list of providers, (Providers are private insurance companies that administer prescription drug plans for Medicare) call each of these companies with your list of medications and find out who is going to give you the best deal for the medicines you take. Be careful when selecting a Medicare Part D provider as all the plans are different and may not cover all of your medications. These insurance companies you contact will most likely try and sell you on their plans; after all they are in this to make a buck. You will need to be a shrewd consumer and shop around for the best plan for you. Don’t let a representative push you into a plan that doesn’t meet your needs.
Once you have selected the plan that covers all of your medications with the lowest monthly premiums and the best coverage, you will enroll in that companies Medicare Part D plan. If you get stuck along the way a Medicare representative can answer your questions and get you back on track. Contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.