Residents of Alabama that qualify for Medicare Parts A and B also have the opportunity to obtain Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage. Even if you aren’t ready to sign up for a plan yet, it’s important to know what Medicare Part D covers when you live in Alabama and why you should sign up for this essential part of the Medicare program.
Understanding Medicare Part D
If you began collecting Social Security benefits at least 4 months before turning 65, you’re automatically enrolled in Part A. This is the part that covers expenses related to hospital stays. Part B covers costs associated with doctor visits and services for diagnosing and treating medical conditions. While both of these parts of Medicare are incredibly beneficial, there’s an essential part of your medical expenses that they do not cover. What is it? Prescription Drugs.
If someone told you that Medicare Part A and B covers prescription medication for Alabama residents, they were only partly correct. If a doctor needs to prescribe you medication during a hospital stay, then Part A will help cover it. This is the only circumstance where Part A covers prescribed medication.
When your doctor prescribes medication to help manage your diabetes, high cholesterol, blood pressure, or any other condition which requires regular medication intake, neither Medicare Part A nor B covers their cost. So how do you save money when required to take prescription drugs on a regular basis? That is where Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan comes in.
When you sign up for Medicare Part D, you pay a low monthly premium to have the cost of your prescription medication significantly reduced. Part D is the only way to obtain prescription drug coverage. Without signing up for Part D, you’ll be paying for your prescriptions out of pocket.
Obtaining Medicare Part D coverage in Alabama
Signing up for Medicare Part D is simple, and there are two ways to go about it.
First, when you sign up for Medicare Part A and B, you can choose a Medicare Part D plan at the same time. Medicare Part D prescription drug plan is a stand-alone coverage option provided through private insurance companies that have contracts with the U.S. government.
Second, if you choose to purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan, also known as Medicare Part C, you can choose an Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage as a part of the plan. When you sign up for Medicare Advantage, you do not need to sign up for a separate stand-alone Medicare Part D plan. Your Medicare Part A, B, and D will all be wrapped up together in one plan – Plan C.
Regardless of whether you choose to obtain prescription drug coverage through a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan, you have a specific window in Alabama when it’s the best time to sign up.
First, you can sign up for Medicare Part D coverage starting three months before you turn 65, during your birthday month, and three months afterward. This period is known as your Initial Enrollment Period. This is the same period when you enroll for Part B.
Second, if you’ve already signed up for a plan, but you want to change your plan or switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare, you can do so during the annual Open Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7.
Finally, if you have a qualifying life event that allows you to change plans during any other time in the year, you can choose a Part D plan option during your Special Enrollment Period, as well.
Which Part D plan is best?
Both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D stand-alone plans offer excellent prescription drug coverage. The primary difference in determining which boils down to whether you want to purchase just a Medicare Part D plan or go with an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan. Regardless, you can’t go wrong.
Should I get Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?
Alabama residents should seriously consider signing up for Part D prescription drug coverage. Why? Simply put, prescription medication can cost a lot. Without prescription drug coverage, you are responsible for paying the entire cost for your medications. Even if you’re not taking medication right now, you only have specific penalty-free signup periods. Delaying enrollment in a prescription drug plan can add a fee to your monthly premium for the life of your policy when you do sign up. Even if you don’t need it right now, you may need it later. Signing up during the allowable enrollment periods helps you get a good rate, and you’ll avoid costly fees associated with delaying.
What does Medicare Part D cost and cover?
Each prescription drug plan is different, so it’s essential that you ask to view the list of prescriptions covered by the insurance plan you’re considering. This list is known as a formulary, and it will tell you which medications are covered. It will also help you determine how much of the cost you’ll be responsible for paying in addition to your monthly premium. These lists can change at any time, so be sure to keep informed and up-to-date regarding your coverage.
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