How To Enroll In Medicare Part D

About Medicare Part D


You can add a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan through a private insurer like Anthem, after you enroll in Original Medicare Part A and/or Part B.


Medicare Parts A and B, also known as Original Medicare, do not cover prescription drugs (outside of medications prescribed to you during a hospital visit). For drug coverage, you need to choose a Medicare Part D plan.


Be sure to compare Medicare Part D plan costs before you enroll.

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More Details On Medicare Part D 


Medicare Part D is optional additional insurance for prescription drugs. Whether you're managing a health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure with regular prescriptions or you just need the occasional medication, Part D insurance can often save you money. Private insurers such as Anthem offer Medicare Part D, and they tend to have many choices in covered medications and pharmacies. 



Medicare Part D Enrollment Periods 


Initial Enrollment Period


Your first enrollment period for Medicare is called the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). That's a seven-month window that includes: 


  • Three months before you turn 65

  • The month you turn 65

  • Three months after you turn 65


During this time, you can apply for Part D coverage along with Medicare Part A and Part B. If you don’t have creditable prescription drug coverage from another source, such as an employer plan, you should consider enrolling in a stand-alone Prescription Drug (Part D) plan or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan that includes Part D as soon as you’re eligible.  If you don’t you may have to pay late enrollment penalties added to your plan’s monthly premium.



Annual Enrollment Period


You still can add Part D coverage after your IEP. You can make changes to your plan, including adding coverage, during the Annual Enrollment Period, which is October 15 to December 7. 



Compare Medicare Part D Plans Before You Enroll 


You have many options for prescription drug coverage, so there are a few things to consider when you're  comparing Medicare Part D plans


  • Look for plans with generic prescription drug tiers, as generics often cost less than brand-name prescription medicines. 

  • Know how much you will pay in copays and coinsurance; basically, what you pay when you pick up your medicine at the pharmacy. 

  • Know and compare your monthly premiums and annual deductibles. Don't forget to include Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles so you know your complete healthcare expenses.

  • Make sure the plan you select covers the medications you use. All Part D plan providers include a formulary or list of medications covered. 

  • See if your Part D plan includes a pharmacy network. You may pay less by picking up your medications from in-network pharmacies. 



Avoiding The Medicare Part D Penalty


If you don’t sign up for a Part D plan when you’re first eligible, or you’ve gone 63 days or more without creditable drug coverage after your IEP, you’ll pay a monthly late enrollment Medicare Part D penalty while you have Part D coverage. While the fee is typically only a few dollars each month, it can add up over time. 



Prescription Drug Coverage Through A Medicare Advantage Plan 


Another way to receive prescription drug coverage is through a Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MAPD) plan, which combines Part C and Part D. These comprehensive plans are available through Medicare-approved private insurers like Anthem. Many of the plans include prescription drug coverage, plus many other benefits. 


These one-stop-shop plans may include dental care, vision care, hearing care, and wellness and fitness memberships, along with prescription drug coverage. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drugs (which most do), you don't need a separate Part D plan.

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Anthem Blue Cross is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is an LPPO plan with a Medicare contract. Anthem Blue Cross is an HMO SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the California Medicaid program. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company depends on contract renewal.


Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is a PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company depends on contract renewal.  Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association. Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.