Medicare Prescription Drug
What are Medicare prescription drug plans?
In 2003, the federal government enacted a Medicare prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries. Private insurance companies sell Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage plans approved by Medicare. Everyone with Medicare is eligible to enroll in Medicare prescription drug coverage, regardless of income or assets, and coverage is voluntary.
What if I am already enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan?
Plan features might change from year to year. So, carefully examine all available plans during each annual enrollment period, because your current plan may no longer best meet your needs. Be sure to check the features of your plan, including the list of drugs covered, the premium, deductible, and cost-sharing you pay, and any coverage gap. If you are satisfied with your current plan, you do not need to do anything to keep your plan. If you take no action, you will remain in your current plan. If you enroll in or make changes to your plan during the annual enrollment period, your new coverage automatically begins Jan. 1, 2009.
What if I am enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage?
Medicare Advantage plans might also make changes to important features of your plan from year to year, including the list of drugs covered, the premium you pay, deductibles and cost-sharing requirements, and provider networks. Carefully review your plan options during each open enrollment season. If you take no action, you will automatically remain in your current plan.
What if I already have prescription drug coverage?
A Medicare prescription drug plan might provide more coverage than a Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) policy or employer-provided prescription drug coverage that you may currently have. If Medicare considers your existing coverage to be “creditable” – meaning, coverage that is as good as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage benefit – you are permitted to keep your current coverage without incurring future penalties. Check with your employer or Medigap plan before dropping an employer-provided prescription drug coverage or Medigap plan because you may not be able to get it back. If you do not enroll in a Medicare drug plan when you are first eligible for Medicare, and you don’t have other creditable prescription drug coverage, you may be subject to a penalty if you decide to enroll at a later time.
What are my options if I want to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan?
You can enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) or you can choose a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) that includes a drug benefit.
Compare plans and select the one that best meets your individual needs annually. Here are a few things to consider:
New Marketing Rules
Beginning Oct. 1, 2008, new federal rules are in place to protect consumers against abuses in the marketing and sales of Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans. According to these new rules, individuals who contact you about any type of private Medicare coverage:
Unfortunately, not everyone who contacts you about switching to a Medicare drug plan has the best intentions. To protect yourself from scam artists intent on taking advantage of your situation, here are some additional tips to avoid becoming a victim:
Other Important Considerations
Federal assistance with premiums will be available to
Medicare beneficiaries who meet certain income requirements.
For more information about your Medicare prescription drug options including an online Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder, go to www.medicare.gov.
Find more information about your changing insurance needs
and tips for choosing the coverage that is best for your and your family
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