Medicare Drug Coverage

With escalating drug costs, people are worrying more and more about how to afford their prescription drugs. Fortunately, Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) makes prescription drug coverage possible and affordable to people who are eligible for Medicare benefits. Participation in the program is not based on income or health status. The only requirement is that a person must be eligible for Medicare benefits to participate. However, a person is not automatically enrolled in Part D, and there are a variety of options and plans available based on individual needs and finances.

Medicare Options and Plans

There are two different types of plans for prescription drug coverage from which to choose. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans add coverage while Medicare Advantage Plans are an inclusive package of Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D. Even though a person may not need prescription drug coverage at the current time, Medicare drug coverage protects them from future high drugs costs.

Costs Associated with Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage

As with any insurance plan, a person will normally pay a monthly premium and yearly deductible in addition to part of the cost of their prescriptions as well as co-payments for individual prescriptions. Since there are a wide variety of plans from which to choose, the cost associated with Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage will vary. For more coverage, a person will likely pay a higher monthly premium and yearly deductible. In 2010, the limit for yearly deductibles is set at $310. However, some beneficiaries may qualify for help paying these premiums or may not have to pay a premium or deductible at all based on their needs.

Sign-Up Eligibility Period

Since a person must sign up for Medicare Part D coverage, the eligibility sign-up period begins three months before the month of age 65 until three months after age 65. Additionally, if the beneficiary is receiving disability payments and is eligible for Medicare because of this, the initial sign-up period is from three months prior to three months after their 25th month of eligibility. Each recipient is afforded the opportunity to sign up during these periods. If they fail to do so, they must wait for the yearly Medicare open enrollment period to begin which is normally from the middle of November until the end of December, and they will be penalized not signing up when they originally had the opportunity to do so. This penalty will continually be applied to future premiums.

Medicare beneficiaries must thoroughly investigate each available plan for prescription coverage and consider additional coverage if yearly prescription drug bills are high. Most Prescription Drug Plans have a list of drugs which they will cover. Additionally, local pharmacists are a good source of information regarding drug coverage availability. Since many drugs are offered in both brand name and generic form, beneficiaries are able to coordinate with their doctors regarding their prescriptions and customize how their prescriptions are prescribed based on their plan coverage. In the end, Medicare prescription drug coverage offers future security to Medicare recipients by ensuring that their drug expenses are covered and that unexpected bills are reduced and controlled.