Medicare Part D is designed to cover retail prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare. It is a federal program administered through private insurance companies. Before Part D’s inception in 2006, seniors had little coverage for prescriptions, and some if not most faced thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. While most plans include some time of cost-sharing, the price you pay for prescriptions is much less than paying full price without Part D insurance.
You can sign up for Part D Prescription Drug Plans, which helps cover prescription drug costs, along with other components of Medicare starting three months before your 65th birthday.
It's important to do this on time because there is a permanent premium surcharge for enrolling more than three months after your 65th birthday if you don't have equivalent drug coverage from another source, such as a retiree plan.
Let us help you with your enrollment
If you are already enrolled in a Part D "stand alone" plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that incorporates drug coverage, you can switch plans during the open-enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 every year.
To get Medicare drug coverage, you must join a plan run by a private insurance company. Each plan can vary in cost and the drugs covered. There are two ways to purchase drug coverage:
A Stand-Alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)
A Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), like an HMO or PPO, or other Medicare health plan that includes Medicare prescription drug coverage.
If you are already enrolled in Part D, it pays to review your coverage every year, which you can do during the fall annual enrollment period. Make choosing a prescription drug plan easier. Adding and keeping your medications updated helps you find a plan that is right for you.
Keeping Prescription Drugs Affordable
Consider your total out-of-pocket costs when looking at drug plans, not just premiums. You can use our Medicine Cabinet tool to see estimates for the drugs you take and get a full breakdown of the costs.
Consider Drug Tiers
Prescription drug plans place different drugs into tiers. The tier your prescription falls into impacts your share of the drug's cost, with drugs in higher tiers usually costing more.
We recommend using generic drugs whenever possible because they're often less expensive.
Choosing A Plan
It pays to review your Part D coverage every year, especially if you have started taking new drugs.
Start at Medicare.gov, where you can find the basics about the benefit and Part D plans. There's a link to the Medicare Part D Plan Finder, which allows you to compare offerings and coverage options in your area and includes a helpful formulary finder that allows you to compare plans based on their coverage of your personalized list of drugs. It will even show you your monthly out-of-pocket drug cost for the year