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Medicare Enrollment: What You Need to Know About Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Enrollment – Prescription Drug Coverage

Ready to complete your Medicare enrollment? Before you make any final decision, it’s important to understand all your options, especially for prescription drug coverage. Whether you currently take medications or not, our healthcare needs are always changing. It’s not surprising that prescription drug coverage is one of the top factors Medicare beneficiaries weigh when choosing Medicare coverage. Read on to find out why prescription drug coverage is so important, and learn more about two key options you may want to consider.

Why is prescription drug coverage so important?

According to Kaiser Family Foundation, 89 percent of adults 65 and older are taking prescription drugs. More than half, 54 percent, are taking four or more prescriptions drugs. Along with your health and necessity, there are financial reasons why you need to understand your prescription drug coverage options prior to completing your Medicare enrollment. If you go without prescription drug coverage for 63 days or more after your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), your prescription drug coverage premiums increase by 1 percent for every month you don’t have coverage, and you’ll continue to pay this fee for the rest of the time you have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

What are my prescription drug coverage options?

Did you know that Original Medicare Parts A and B don’t include prescription drug coverage? Don’t worry, we’ve outlined several good options to consider before completing your Medicare enrollment to make sure you get the coverage you need and avoid costly penalties.

Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)

Part D Plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. You can enroll in a Part D Plan in addition to either Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t include prescription drug coverage. Kaiser Family Foundation reported Medicare beneficiaries had a choice of 27 standalone Part D Prescription Drug Plans in 2019. Before you complete your Medicare enrollment for a Part D Plan, be sure you know the monthly premium, copays, and if the plan has an annual deductible you must pay before the coverage begins.

Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Advantage Plans, or Part C, are also offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans must provide Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage. In addition, many Medicare Advantage Plans also offer include benefits such as dental care, vision care, wellness programs, and prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage Plans that include prescription drug coverage are referred to as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MA-PDs). The Kaiser Family Foundation reported 90% of Medicare Advantage Plans in 2019 included prescription drug coverage, and 88 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees were enrolled in MA-PDs. They also report that 52.4 percent of these plans that are available for 2020 received at least a four-star rating.

Don’t Forget to Compare

Providers can make changes to their plans annually, including adding or dropping prescription drugs, or moving them to different tiers in their formulary. It’s a good idea to review your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) to make sure your prescription drugs are still covered, at what level, and the copays still fit your budget.

Whether you already have prescription drug coverage, or are going through Medicare enrollment for the first time, it’s smart to compare prescription drug premiums and copays. Our convenient Medicare Online Enrollment Portal makes it easy to find Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans, as well as compare benefits and costs.

We Make Medicare Enrollment Easy

Whether you have questions about prescription drug coverage or other Medicare enrollment details, we can help. Our Medicare Advocates are just a phone call away, and you can reach them at 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. You can also easily find, compare, and enroll in plans using our Medicare Online Enrollment Portal.