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How to choose a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan before the Deadlines

How to choose a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan before the Deadlines

PDP regions for Part D Plan

Medicare part D coverage started on Nov. 15th this year.  It is also call Medicare’s new prescription drug plan.  The goal of Medicare Part D is to help subsidize drug coverage through private-insurance companies. 

There are over 60 different plans to choose from which makes it a complicated procedure to figure out which plan is the right one.  The elderly and disabled who are covered with Medicare will now be able to get drug coverage through a private insurance company.  The plans vary depending on location.  Each region of the country has different benefits, costs, and terms.

It is really important to completely research and take notes on all the different plans out there.  You have until May 15th to make a decision in the Medicare part D drug plan.  So you still have time to make an educated decision that will be best for you.


If you fail to make a decision by May 15th however, there will be a penalty and premiums can increase by 1 percent for every month you are late.  You do have the option to change plans once if you file the paperwork before May 15th up until June 30th.  So you can switch one time if you do make an error in your first decision.

There is a deadline for December 31st for people that have “dual-eligibility”.  This means that they are covered by both Medicare and the state’s medical system.  If a decision is not made by December 31st they are automatically assigned randomly to one of the plans and will go into effect on January 1st.  These people with this type of coverage will not have to pay a monthly premium or deductible, but they will have to pay a co-payment for prescriptions.  If they are not satisfied with their plan they are allowed to change plans once a month.

You are not required to enroll in the Medicare part D prescription drug benefit plan and is an optional program.  You need to determine if it will benefit you or not.


The Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage is described in detail in the copy of the 2006 Medicare and You Handbook.  You should have received this copy in September’s mail.  If you lost your copy, make sure to contact the Medicare or HICAP for another manual.

Medicare Part D

If you already have a drug plan check it out and know exactly what its benefits and charges offer.  The plan you are currently with should have notified you if their coverage was better or if Medicare’s plan was better.

Find out in your current drug plan is “creditable”.  Make sure that you get acknowledgement in writing from your current plan that states it is creditable.  This letter will make it easier to join with the Medicare plan without a penalty after the May 15th deadline date.

Write down a list of all the prescriptions drugs that you currently are taking.  You should discuss with your doctor which of these are generics and if generics are available and what are the names.  This will help in the decision process as to which plan is the right one for you.  You can try to find the lowest price plan based on the prescriptions that you have.  Some insurance companies do not cover all drugs and may require you to use generic drugs first.

Even though you may not have the same name drug,  there are at least two drugs in each class so it is very important to talk with your doctor about all the names and the generic names and see if switching will be a problem.

The reason that you would want to switch is to save money.  Now that you know what drugs are out there, and what the plans offer, you need to calculate the amounts and compare the prices.  You might want to make a chart listing the different providers.  Compare the monthly premiums, any deductibles, and co-payments.  Keep in mind the generic and non-generic coverage in the equation.  Also make sure to include your current plan in this chart so that you can see the cost.

Once you see this chart of comparisons, you will likely see a couple that look like pretty good choices.  Make a new chart of the narrowed down choices.  You show talk with the insurance providers if you are not clear about any of their policies rules, talk with the providers and ask them questions.  The more you understand the better decision you will make.  It is also very helpful to have family help in the process as it is a big task.  If you are in a nursing home ask the facility about the plans that they would recommend. 

You may also qualify for financial aid through the Social Security Administration office.  If you have a dual coverage with state program and Medicare already, you already qualify for the extra help and need not apply for this and are already included.  The extra help is extended to those that have an individual income less than $14,355 and year ($19,245 for a couple) and they have assets of less than $11,500 ($23,000 for a couple).  The assets calculation does not include your home or car.


Figuring out Medicare Part D prescription drug plan is no small task and it will take time to get everything assembled to get the plan that is right for you.

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: (877) 267-2323 or the CMS website.

Medicare has a toll free number you can call to ask questions.  There phone number is 1-800-633-4227.  TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.  You can visit official Medicare website here.

By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Keywords and misspellings:  Medicare Medecare Medicair Medicaire plan d deadlines penalty change plans how to choose plan

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM