Paul Barrett Insurance Services Blog
See tips to help you select a prescription drug plan—and learn what to avoid.
Whether or not you need coverage when you first sign up for Medicare, it's critical to plan ahead. Most people will need coverage at some point in retirement. If you're uncovered and need prescription drugs, the costs can be crippling. And if you wait to sign up for drug coverage until you need it, you will likely need to pay a much higher insurance premium.
Those eligible for Medicare have 2 options: A stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or an "all-in-one" approach with a Medicare Advantage plan. Here we will focus on Medicare Part D.
Either way, it's crucial to consider Medicare drug coverage options carefully.
Your Medicare Part D checklistNot all Part D plans are created equal. Each plan varies in terms of cost, the drugs covered, special rules, and so on. Just because a friend or family member's Part D plan works for their needs doesn't mean it will work for yours. Instead, do some homework. Here are 5 simple steps to get started.
Even if you don't take prescription drugs currently, if you need them later and you try signing up for a Part D plan late, you could face a penalty of 1% for each month you went without coverage. Not having Part D coverage could be a costly—and long-term—mistake.
You should consider enrolling in a Part D prescription drug plan as soon as you become eligible for Medicare (unless you have creditable drug coverage such as from an employer health plan), regardless of your current prescription drug needs.
Navigating Part D restrictions
A Part D plan may also feature restrictions around certain prescriptions. These restrictions are intended to address drug safety and manage prescription drug costs. You'll usually see these drug restrictions on the higher pricing tiers in a drug plan. Here are some common ones:
Get readyBefore you enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan, find out which plans are available in your area and whether they cover your prescriptions. Compare their overall cost and look for a plan that:
Choosing Medicare prescription drug coverage is a decision you'll have to make throughout your retirement.
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