Medicare Part D
Generally, to enroll in Medicare Part D you must already be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. That enrollment can be done during the initial enrollment period or during the Fall open enrollment period. Another option is enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Drug Plan also referred to as MA-PD, although not every Medicare Advantage Plan has a drug plan.
Monthly premiums vary widely from a few dollars to over $100 depending on the plan you choose. Lower income levels can also result in assistance based on financial need. Some Medicare Advantage Drug Plans and Medicare Part D Drug Plans are even offered with a $0 premium. Deductibles can also vary greatly from $0 with some Advantage Plans, to a $400 deductible with the standard Medicare Part D Plan. Co-pays are typically a percentage of drug cost or a flat fee based on tier levels for many drugs. Generally, this is a trade-off between Premiums, Deductibles, and Co-pays.
There is also what is commonly referred to as the "donut hole" Medicare Part D gap between the initial coverage limit $3,700 and the point where the catastrophic benefits begin $4,950. During this period, patients are responsible for the entire cost of their prescription benefits, under both Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Drug Plans. However, in 2011, changes were made so that enrollees in 2017 only pay 51% for generic and 40% for name brand prescription drugs. After the $4,950 level is reached co-pay is 5%.
With an estimated 1,439 Medicare Part D Plans available in 2017, choosing may not be easy, but there are choices for everyone and their needs.