Medicare Part D
Enrollment Deadline - May 15th - What to Look For When Choosing a
Prescription Drug Insurance Company Program
April 23rd 2006
Medicare Part D
Potential Medicare Part D Drug Plan participants have about three weeks
to choose a company to avoid paying a penalty. The May 15th
deadline is approaching and Medicare is in their final push to help
enroll seniors, aged 65 and older. It is estimated that between 60 and
75 percent of those seniors that can benefit from the program have
enrolled, depending on location.
Medicare has added additional staffing to their hotline number as the
deadline approaches. Participants can call 24 hours a day, seven days a
week, and talk to a staff member. The Medicare toll free number is:
1-800-633-4277. You can also check with your local seniorís center for
possible classes or seminars.
There are numerous drug plans available. Participants need to list all
of the drugs they take, both generic and name brand, before they
determine which plan works best for them.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, beneficiaries with average
incomes can save about $700 per year. Senior with low incomes could
save an average of $1,500 per year. Of course the savings will be
different depending on the individual, but those that take a lot of
medicines should save the most.
You will need to write down all of your prescriptions before you compare
plans. The lowest priced plan may not be the cheapest plan for you. If
you donít take any prescription drugs, you might want to choose the
cheapest plan before the deadline to avoid a late enrollment penalty.
That penalty will become a permanent fee attached to each monthly
The penalty amounts to 1 percent of the state average
(some experts say it is the national average and others believe it could
be the regional average)
each month you delay enrollment after May of this year. The penalty is
determined by how many months you delay before enrollment. For
instance, if you wait until 2011 to sign up, you will have to pay a
penalty that factorís in the 60+ months that you did not join.
So if the state average premium is $40 a month at the time you enroll
in 2011, and you choose a plan that costs $30 a month, your monthly
premium will be $30 plus $26.80 (that's 66 percent of $40 Ė assuming you
waited 66 months), or a total of $56.80. So it may be better to enroll
now rather than wait, even if you do not require prescription drugs.
The biggest insurance companies may not offer the best plans for you.
Consider the co-pays before you decide, and make sure that the drugs you
take are covered by the plan.
Not everyone needs to sign up for Part D. Some seniors may have an HMO
that covers prescription drugs. The Medicare drug benefit is voluntary,
but eligible seniors who don't sign up by May 15 will incur a financial
penalty when or if they do sign up someday.
By Dan Wilson
Keywords and misspellings: helth ensurance quotes
find lowest price medcare medecare medacare