Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities and people with end-stage renal (kidney) disease. The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services, part D helps cover prescription drug costs. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care while Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. There is also a Medicare Advantage, (a.k.a Part C) an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These “bundled” plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D
Medicare Part D has an Annual Election Period (AEP) during which persons already on Part A or Part B coverage can enroll or renew their Part D coverage. The AEP occurs from October 15 – December 7 every year. During this time, you have the chance to make changes to your current Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year, including:
- Enrolling into a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Switching from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Prescription Drug Plan.
- Switching from a Medicare Advantage plan that does not include drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage plan that does, and vice versa.
- Dropping your Medicare prescription drug coverage entirely.
Under Medicare Part D, you will receive prescription drug coverage up to a certain amount. The coverage gap (or “donut hole”) refers to the point when you and your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan plan have spent a certain total amount on covered prescriptions; this amount is also known as your initial coverage limit. Once you reach this limit, you’re in what’s known as the coverage gap, or the “donut hole.” During this phase of your Part D benefits, you pay a higher portion of your prescription drug costs. After you’ve spent a certain amount, you’ll reach the catastrophic coverage phase, and you’ll pay only a small copayment or coinsurance for your covered medications for the rest of the year. This article can help you understand a little bit more about this “donut hole”.
Medicare Part D is formula based. Each year, premiums change, deductibles change, its part of the laws of Part D insurance. At Walker’s Drug Store, we can assist you with your Part D application. If you’re an existing customer, we will have your drug list on file so you can simply call or come in to us and let us know that you have to file your Part D application and we can print it out. For those of you who’ve recently become eligible for Medicare, it’s in your best interest to also apply for Part D coverage now as failure to do so will incur a late-enrollment penalty. If you have a list of medications, we can put it into our system and tell you what your copays will be next year under the new system. Don’t assume that because you’re on a plan this year that it’ll be beneficial to you next year. Enroll for your Medicare Part D today. Contact us to get started on your application today.