Medicare Part D, known as Medicare Prescription Drug plans, are available through and coordinated by private insurance companies that are contracted with Medicare. Any beneficiary who is eligible for Original Medicare, Part A and/or Part B, can sign up for Medicare Part D if they are a permanent resident of the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan service area. Medicare Prescription Drug coverage is optional, but if you don’t enroll in Part D as soon as you’re eligible, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty if you enroll later.
You can sign up for Medicare Part D coverage through a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or with a Medicare Advantage plan that have prescription drug coverage, called a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD). Stand-alone Prescription Drug plans are available to beneficiaries who are enrolled in Original Medicare and are designed to work alongside Original Medicare coverage. Plan types vary by location, so monthly plan premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs will vary from plan to plan.
Each medication covered by a Medicare Prescription Drug plan has a set cost in the form of a co-pay or coinsurance according to a tiered system known as a formulary. Every Medicare Prescription Drug plan has a formulary for your reference, showing the cost associated with each covered medication. Reviewing the formularies will allow you to pick the plan with the lowest cost for your prescriptions.
For more information about Medicare Prescription Drug plans, click here.