When do I need Prescription Drug Coverage?
When you are first eligible for Medicare (your initial enrollment period) is a good time to give some thought to joining a Prescription Drug Coverage. If you wait and choose to sign up later, you will be penalized for every month you waited. This penalty gets added to your prescription drug plan premium every month and does not go away as long as you have the plan.
Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) is available to everyone with Medicare as an optional benefit. Part D is not mandatory. It is, however, important for you to consider joining a Medicare prescription drug plan now, even if you are not currently taking many prescription medications, to avoid late enrollment penalties. To clarify, if you decide not to get Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) when you are first eligible and then you join later, you will be charged a penalty for every month you waited. You will have to keep paying the penalty for as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. There are some exceptions to this on www.Medicare.gov such as having other creditable prescription drug coverage (from an employer or union, for example) or qualifying for Extra Help (if you meet certain income and resource limits).
Two ways to get Prescription Drug Coverage:
1) Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) is sometimes called a PDP. These plans add drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans.
2) Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) with prescription drug coverage
Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) with prescription drug coverage is sometimes called an MA-PD. These plans could be an HMO or PPO or other Medicare health plan that offers Medicare prescription drug coverage. You get all of your Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and prescription drug coverage through these plans. You must have Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage Plan. Each plan will vary in cost and specific drugs covered.
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