Medicare has four parts: A, B, C, and D. While you must enroll in Parts A & B in the months surrounding your 65th birthday, Parts C & D are not required. In this blog post, we discuss the basics of Medicare Part D.
Medicare Part D is a Medicare prescription drug plan that is offered through carriers. The main reason one should consider enrolling in Medicare Part D is because Parts A & B do not cover prescription benefits. If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part D, you will have to pay retail price for prescription medication—which can get very expensive.
If you want to get an Rx plan, you will have to enroll in a Part D standalone plan, or part of a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, which covers all Medicare services and coverage like dental, vision, and hearing as well.
As soon as you get Medicare Part A, you qualify for Part D coverage. Although Medicare Part D is not required, you can get a penalty for not having it. Medicare Part D includes a penalty of 1% for every month you did not have it but qualified for it—this is protection so that it’s not just people who are sick who enroll in an Rx Plan. The national average premium for 2018 is $35.02; this is what the percentage of the penalty is based off of. This penalty will be paid by you each month once you have signed up for a Part D plan, and lasts the rest of your lifetime.
For example, if you went 10 months without a Part D plan: Your penalty would be 10% of $35.02, or $3.50 a month added to your prescription plan and copays.
If you feel that Medicare Part D is not affordable, you may want to reconsider as paying the retail price can get expensive! Plans for Medicare Part D start as low as $20 for a standalone plan, and some Advantage plans that offer Part D have a $0 premium.
Once you enroll every Annual Election Period (AEP), which runs from October 15th to December 7th, you can change your Medicare plans for the following calendar year.
Many pharmacies accept Part D for prescription drugs, but since each carrier has a different network of pharmacies, you should always check with your carrier to see which pharmacies are preferred over others.
For more information on enrolling in Medicare Part D, contact Hafetz and Associates today at 609-872-0001 or visit Medicare.gov. You can also visit one of our upcoming Medicare Seminars – check our news and events page for dates.