If you apply for Medicare’s right, especially if you are in good health, you may be wondering how much coverage you need for medical care. Enrollment in Original Medicare for many people will be automatic if they are eligible. However, registration for Medicare Part D will not be automatic. You may wonder if it makes sense to postpone the Medicare Part D registration (optional prescription drug coverage) till a time when you really need the benefits.
Before deciding, you should read the following concerning the enrollment process of Part D of Medicare and how this affects the financial planning of your medical care.
What is Medicare Part D?
Medicare program has four parts: Part A (i.e. hospital insurance), Part B (i.e. medical insurance), Part C (i.e. Medicare Advantage Program) and Part D (i.e. prescription drug coverage). Original Medicare will not cover prescription drugs, except in very limited circumstances (e.g. generally Medicare Part A covers the prescription drugs you get as part of your inpatient treatment, and Part B may cover certain drugs, such as injections you received in a doctor’s office). The daily medications you can take at home – for example, the treatment of chronic diseases or for the treatment of a disease, they are not insured by Original Medicare.
Under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Congress approved Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, but did not include it in Original Medicare plan. Medicare Part D prescription drugs are offered by private insurance companies under contract with Medicare. To get this optional coverage, you can buy a separate Medicare prescription drug policy to supplement your original Medicare benefits or get your original Medicare benefits via a Prescription Drug Policy of Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage policies include the benefits of Part A and B, with the exception of hospice care which is still covered in Part A plan. Medicare Advantage policies often include additional benefits, such as routine dental services, and most include the coverage of prescription drugs.
If you enroll for part D of prescription drugs of Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage policy for Medicare prescription drugs, you may pay a separate premium to the company that provides the policy to you (although some Medicare Advantage policies have premiums of $0). You must continue to pay your monthly premium for Part B. You may have co pays, co insurance, and deductibles with your coverage. It is important to keep all of these costs in mind when evaluating the Medicare Part D registration.
Even if you are healthy now and do not take any prescription medication, you should be aware that if you choose not to enroll in Medicare if you first qualify for Medicare, you may suffer a late enrollment penalty should you need this coverage in the future. When is the registration period for Medicare Part D?
The first Medicare Part D application begins when you qualify for Medicare for the first time or when you are 65 years old. You can enroll in Medicare during the initial enrollment period or during the annual election period that takes place each year. In some cases, you can register during one of the special elections periods (SEP).