Medicare is health insurance offered by the federal government for people 65 and older or people under 65 with certain disabilities.
When you join a Medicare drug plan, you'll give your Medicare number and the date your Part A and/or Part B coverage started. This information is on your Medicare card.You can change plans during the Medicare prescription drug program's annual enrollment period, which is from October 15 to December 7 each year. (Those with both Medicare and Medicaid may change plans monthly, at any time throughout the year.)
If you don't join a Medicare drug plan when you're first eligible to join (during your initial enrollment period), you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty when you join. This amount changes every year but is approximately 1% of the plan's premium price for each month you delay enrolling plus a penalty for as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage.
If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Extra Help, a Medicare program to help pay Medicare prescription drug costs. You may qualify for Extra Help if your yearly income and resources are below these limits in 2016:
You may qualify even if you have a higher income (like if you still work or have dependents living with you). Resources include money in a checking or savings account, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Resources don’t include your home, car, household items, burial plot, up to $1,500 for burial expenses (per person) or life insurance policies.
Medications covered vary by plan. Use the eHealth tool to determine which Medicare Part D plan offers the best coverage for your current prescriptions.
If you're currently enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan, you should think about a few things to decide if you are in “the right plan.” Each year, plan premiums, deductibles, prescription copayments and annual out-of-pocket expenses can change. These costs, as well as the list of covered drugs, vary from plan to plan and from region to region. You also need to remember that, in general, only the cost of Part D-covered drugs that are included on a plan's formulary count toward the deductible and out-of-pocket limits.
You should take time to review the various plans available to you in light of your current and anticipated prescription needs and financial resources. You may want to consider whether there is a different plan available that may be more suitable to your needs. Visit your fred's pharmacist or use the eHealth Plan Comparison tool to help determine which plan is best for you.