In today's world, taking a prescription drug can prevent that unwelcomed hospital visit. We know that compliance is possible when it's financially attainable.
What is it?
Medicare offers prescription drug coverage, but you must enroll in a prescription drug plan (PDP) through a private company to access the benefits. Each company will have different rates, copayment amounts, varying coverage during the donut hole, and a different list of covered drugs. When choosing prescription drug coverage, it's important to check which benefit tier your current medications fall under, if you take any.
How do I buy one?
You can obtain coverage for prescription drugs through one of two options:
Option # 1 - Buy a separate prescription drug plan because: 1) you only have Original Medicare, 2) you purchased a Medicare Supplemental plan, or 3) you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that does not have a prescription drug benefit.
Option #2 - You enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug benefits (MA-PD).
Late Enrollment Penalty
As soon as you are first eligible for Medicare or lose credible coverage, we recommend that you sign up for a prescription drug plan. Yes, even if you are not taking any medications. If you don't, you could face a lifetime financial penalty that will not make you too happy. How much will you pay? It depends on how many months you went without it. The penalty is 1% of the national base beneficiary premium ($33.19 in 2019) multiplied by the number of months you didn't have coverage. The penalty amount is added to the Part D premium of any plan you purchase. It can increase every year as the National Base Beneficiary premium increased too. Ouch.
Find more details on Page 78 of the 2019 Medicare & You manual.
You may qualify for financial assistance, if you meet certain income requirements. There are programs by Medicare and many drug manufacturers that can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.