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Know more about Medicare Part D enrollment

What Medicare covers and doesn't cover might surprise you. For example, Medicare Part A and Part 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.

More details on Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D is an 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 providers and plans.

Know when to enroll in Medicare Part D

Your first enrollment period for Medicare Part D 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. To avoid penalties, it's best to enroll in Part D as soon as you're eligible even if you are not taking prescription medications.

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

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 health care 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.
  • Some Part D plans have restrictions on coverage so it's good to check when signing up.

Get prescription drug coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan

Another way to receive prescription drug coverage is through a Medicare Advantage plan, also known as Medicare Part C. These comprehensive plans are available through Medicare-approved private insurers like Anthem. Many of the plans include prescription drug coverage, plus lots of 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.

If you're just turning 65, you can apply for a Medicare Advantage plan when you sign up for Medicare during the IEP. If you are currently enrolled in Medicare and want to opt in to a Medicare Advantage plan, you can do that during the Annual Enrollment Period.

How to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan

If you are applying for Medicare for the first time, you can add a Part D plan through a private insurer after you enroll in Original Medicare.

Explore all your options for Medicare prescription drug plans. Compare costs and coverage.

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Y0114_20_113221_U  CMS Accepted 9/10/19
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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of: In Colorado Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. In Connecticut: Anthem Health Plans, Inc. In Georgia: Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc.  In Indiana: Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. In Kentucky: Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. In Maine: Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc. In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area): RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. In Nevada: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. dba HMO Nevada. In New Hampshire: Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. HMO plans are administered by Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. and underwritten by Matthew Thornton Health Plan, Inc. In Ohio: Community Insurance Company. In Virginia: Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. In Wisconsin: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (BCBSWI), which underwrites or administers the PPO and indemnity policies and underwrites the out of network benefits in POS policies offered by Compcare or WCIC; Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (Compcare) underwrites or administers the HMO policies and Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company (WCIC) underwrites or administers Well Priority HMO or POS policies. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Use of the Anthem websites constitutes your agreement with our Terms of Use.