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Medicare Part D

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Medicare Part D - What you need to know

There must have been something that spurred on the United States Government to initiate a plan with the name ‘Medicare Part D’. For those of you who are not in the know-how, ‘D’ of course refers to the drug part of the whole scheme. And if you’re thinking it is just a ‘part’ of Medicare, you’re terribly wrong. Medicare Part D is coverage that lets you access prescription drugs and can be a subject that can continue to daunt you. That is exactly why you need to know the basics that lead to Medicare Part D and those leading from it to a possible conclusion as to why you might need prescription drug coverage or might not.

The very first thing you need to do before opting for a Medicare Part D plan is to analyze the options already available to you. Broadly, there are five categories or sources of health coverage, for at least one of which you’ll become eligible under normal conditions. First comes the original Medicare plan. Even if you become eligible in this category you might still be left with the need to opt for prescription drug coverage since the plan does not offer this benefit. Medicare Supplemental coverage too is great only as long as you want it to make coverage comprehensive for you. Medicare would rather suggest you to choose a plan that specially takes care of prescription drug needs. Before you take up Medicare Part D insurance, you must consider that prescription drug plan offered by your employer (if at all you have been offered any). In case this seems to be insufficient you can always move on to something more beneficial. As per popular theory, prescription drug benefits are best served on an Advantage plan. How you make your choice, though, is completely upto your discretion. Eligibility for Medicare with Medicaid will ensure you access to prescription drug coverage through the former.

While the ones mentioned are probable sources of coverage, there are some others that you need to consider for the plain reason of getting prescription drug benefits. Choosing a Medicare Part D plan is not really the easiest of tasks considering the number of choices available to an individual at a time. In some states, plans offering prescription coverage may be as many as 50 or even more. Out of this number, maybe half is offered through Medicare itself. So how do you decide what to choose? Here’s a list of the options you can bank on-

  • Combining a Medicare prescription plan with original Medicare - This is one of the easiest ways of accessing your much needed prescription drug coverage. Though you team the two up, you pay separate premiums for each plan.
  • Advantage Plans - These plans let you breathe as far as prescription coverage goes. Things have just got better what with a wide variety of choices available to people. You can choose from either a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan.
  • Other options - These include other plans created by Medicare (like PACE) and Fee for Service plans. Please note that plans like PACE do not fall into the Advantage plan category. As for FFS plans, coverage might or might not include prescription benefits depending upon the understanding between Medicare and service providers.

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