Open enrollment for the 2009 Medicare Part D benefit period started November 15, 2008 and will end December 31, 2008. If you already have Medicare Part D coverage or a Medicare Advantage Plan (a combined Medicare and Medicare Part D plan), this is also the period during which you can change from one plan to another. Enroll early so that you have time to receive your new Health Plan materials by mail. This will help you avoid coverage delays on January 1, 2009.
Medicare prescription drug coverage is insurance that covers both brand-name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies in your area. Medicare prescription drug coverage provides protection for people who have very high drug costs or from unexpected prescription drug bills in the future.
The goal is to choose a plan which reduces, to the greatest extent possible, your out of pocket costs for prescription drugs and to make sure that the plan’s “formulary” (the list of drugs the plan covers) includes the drugs you use. Visit the Prescription Drug Coverage page of Medicare’s website for basic information about eligibility, how the program works, things to consider, and to use their “drug plan” finder and their “formulary” finder.
You must also be mindful of the impact that signing up for a Part D plan may have on your other health care and prescription coverage, perhaps provided for by a former employer. Many times the coverage afforded by these plans is superior to a Part D or Advantage plan. In fact, sometimes your private coverage can be cancelled if you choose a separate Part D plan. You should contact the administrator of your existing health insurance plan to learn about your rights. If you need assistance in evaluating your options, we can recommend a qualified agent to help you make the right choice.
Even after selecting the “best” available Part D coverage or other available private coverage, many seniors incur significant co-pays or reach the so-called “donut hole” (the gap in the Part D coverage after the first $2,400 expended), resulting in them paying significant amounts on their prescriptions. In the next issue of the our Newsletter we will discuss our Rx Savings Program, which is a service we provide seniors to review their prescription expenditures and find private and governmental programs which may reduce the cost of their prescription drugs and sometimes allow them to obtain prescriptions for free.