For those Medicare beneficiaries living in Arizona looking to enroll in prescription drug coverage, there are two paths they can take: a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D coverage. Both options have pros and cons, and it’s important to determine which choice is right for you.
Medicare Part D Options
Prescription drug coverage is available through two options: a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MAPD).
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are for those who are enrolled in Original Medicare to cover the rest of their health insurance needs. That means, if you sign up for Medicare Part A (which is your hospital coverage) and Part B (which is your medical coverage), you will purchase a stand-alone Part D drug plan in Arizona.
Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans are seen as an all-in-one plan (also known as Medicare Part C). If you fall under this category, you don’t need to buy a stand-alone plan as your coverage will be included under a single Medicare Advantage plan.
If you choose Medicare Advantage and then purchase a stand-alone prescription drug coverage at a later time, you will be disenrolled from Medicare Advantage and automatically switched back to Original Medicare.
Enrolling in Medicare Part D in Arizona
There are three specific time periods which allow Medicare beneficiaries to get prescription drug coverage.
Initial Enrollment Period: This is the time when you are first eligible to enroll in Medicare. It starts three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and three months after your birthday. During this time, you can choose whether you want to purchase a stand-alone Part D plan to go with your Original Medicare coverage or sign up for Medicare Advantage with a prescription drug plan included.
Annual Election Period: From October 15 to December 7 every year, you can change your Medicare Part D coverage or Medicare Advantage plan. You can also choose to purchase a Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan if you haven’t done so before this time.
Open Enrollment Period (when enrolled in Medicare Advantage): From January 1 to March 31, you can disenroll from your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare, during which time you can sign up for a stand-alone Part D plan.
Special Election Period: If you have a qualifying life change that allows you to change plans, you can enroll under this designation. Qualifying life changes include moving out of a Medicare plan’s service area or losing Medicaid eligibility.
What Part D Options are Available to People in Arizona?
Numerous prescription drug plans are available to those living in Arizona. Each plan has a separate list of drugs the insurance covers. This list is called a formulary, and they can change from year to year. If the list changes and your medication is removed, you will be notified. You will then have the rest of your coverage year to shop around and find a plan that fits your budget and your prescription needs.
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