Did you know over 361,000 Idahoans are enrolled in Medicare? If you're getting ready to sign up for Medicare, it's time for you to learn about Medicare Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage to Medicare beneficiaries.
Getting Medicare Part D in Idaho
In Idaho, Medicare provides Part D prescription drug coverage through private insurance companies. Getting a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in Idaho depends on how you receive your other benefits, including Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance).
You can purchase a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) if you stay with Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or choose a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan that does not include prescription drug coverage. You may also choose a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, known as an MA-PD. Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans are offered by private insurance companies contracted with Medicare.
With Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, you receive all the same services as Original Medicare, plus prescription drug coverage – all combined in a single plan. Also known as Medicare Part C, Advantage plans often include additional benefits such as vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage.
Why do I need Medicare Part D in Idaho?
Original Medicare only covers prescription medications in extremely limited situations. Typically, this means medications administered by a healthcare provider, such as injections. Parts A and B do not cover the medications you take daily to manage conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, thyroid disease, or depression. To get coverage for these types of medications, you need a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan.
When can I register for Medicare Part D in Idaho?
The first time you can sign up for Medicare Part D coverage is during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
If you’re aging into Medicare, your Initial Enrollment Period lasts for 7 months. It starts 3 months before you turn 65, includes the month of your birthday, and ends 3 months later. Your Initial Enrollment Period is the ideal time to sign up for Part D prescription drug coverage.
During this time, you can also sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, with or without prescription drug coverage.
If you currently have Medicare, you may also enroll in a prescription drug plan during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). Options include:
- Leaving Original Medicare for a Medicare Advantage plan
- Switching from one MA plan to another
- Switching from one Part D plan to another
- Leaving your MA plan to return to Original Medicare
Annual Enrollment occurs every year from October 15 to December 7.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment is available to anyone who is currently enrolled in an MA plan. During this time, you may:
- Change to a new Advantage plan
- Return to Original Medicare
If the changes you make during Open Enrollment result in you not having prescription drug coverage, you may also enroll in a Part D plan.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment occurs annually from January 1 through March 31.
Finally, if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), and can choose a new plan at that time. There are dozens of ways to qualify. Find the full list here.
Other things to know about Medicare Part D in Idaho
If you delay enrollment in a Medicare Part D plan AND you do not have creditable prescription drug coverage elsewhere, you face lifelong late enrollment penalties when you do finally sign up. "Creditable" means that it provides similar coverage to Medicare, which means prescription discount clubs do not count as creditable coverage.
Comparing Medicare Part D plans is easy with our Find a Plan tool. Just enter your zip code to see the Medicare plans in your area.
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