What is the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, prescription drugs are a part of the care plan for 59 million seniors and people with disabilities. What’s more, the drugs account for $1 of every $6 in Medicare spending.

Most Medicare Plan D members pay a monthly premium, which varies by provider. To participate in a Part D plan, you must live in the plan service area. Whether you select a stand-alone Part D plan or go with a Medicare Advantage plan, you must have Part A and/or Part B in order to join.

Medicare’s prescription drug benefit (Part D) is the part of Medicare that provides outpatient drug coverage. Part D is provided only through private insurance companies that have contracts with the federal government—it is never provided directly by the government (unlike Original Medicare).

If you want to get Part D coverage, you have to choose and enroll in a private Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage (MAPD). Enrollment is optional (though recommended to avoid incurring future penalties and problems) and only allowed during approved enrollment periods. Typically, you should sign up for Part D when you first become eligible to enroll in Medicare.

Whether you should sign up for a Medicare Part D plan depends on your circumstances. You may have creditable drug coverage from employer or retiree insurance. Contact your employer or drug plan to learn if your drug coverage is creditable. If so, you don’t need to enroll in a PDP until you lose this coverage. Also, some people already enrolled in certain low-income assistance programs may be automatically enrolled in a Medicare drug plan and receive additional financial assistance paying for their medicines.

Read Next: How Medicare Part D Works?
Find Out: Common Medicare Part D Terms
Return to: Medicare Part D

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