Everyone with Medicare is entitled to receive prescription drug coverage from Medicare, but you must join a Medicare Part D plan to receive this benefit. You join a plan by choosing an offering from a Medicare-approved insurance carrier. Many carriers offer multiple options, or levels of coverage, and the prices and benefits vary by state of residence. The most cost-effective choice of plan will vary greatly from person to person, as the amount of money one is responsible to pay out-of-pocket depends on the specific prescriptions needed each month.
Even if you feel that you do not need prescription coverage because you do not take any prescription medication on a regular basis, neglecting to enroll in prescription drug coverage is inadvisable. If you decide NOT to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan when you are first eligible, AND you do not have other creditable prescription drug coverage or receive “Extra Help” through a government program, you will be assessed a late enrollment penalty by Medicare. This penalty accrues by month, and when you eventually decide to enroll in a Part D plan, you will be responsible to pay the penalty amount each month on top of your membership fee for the remainder of your life.
Two Ways To Get Drug Coverage Through Medicare
- 1) A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or Part D. These plans (sometimes called “PDPs”) add drug coverage to Original Medicare.
- 2) A Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) like an HMO or a PPO that offers prescription coverage. When you select this option, you receive all of your Part A (Hospital) coverage, Part B (Medical) coverage, and Part D (prescription) coverage through the carrier administering the Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage are sometimes referred to as “MAPDs.” You must have already enrolled in Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage Plan.