People who are aging into Medicare are able to enroll during the 3 months prior to their 65th birthday month, the month of, and for 3 months after.
Open Enrollment for Medicare is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and is available to those individuals over the age of 65 who wish to change some aspect of their current supplemental Medicare plan coverage.
It is essential that as a Medicare recipient, you understand the different characteristics of the choices you have when choosing Medicare Supplement plans (which “supplements” Parts A and B) and particularly prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Supplement plans are designated by letters from A through N, with the Plan G being the most inclusive. The differences amongst plans are distinguished by how comprehensive they are in covering medical treatments and their cost. These plans, administered through the private insurers, do not cover prescription drugs outside of a hospital setting.
For prescription drug coverage, be sure to research the availability and cost of any prescription you may take, using the Medicare.gov website. This tool allows you to choose from a number of commercial plans to make certain your prescriptions will be covered and at what cost.
These Part D plans are administered by private companies and the drugs covered, as well as their costs, may be changed yearly.
There are four tiers of Medicare’s Part D Program
Tier 1 is the annual deductible and Medicare allows a Part D plan to charge up to $480 annually; Tier 2 is the initial coverage; Tier 3 is the coverage gap or “donut hole” which is $4,430; Tier 4 is catastrophic coverage.
During the annual Open Enrollment Period you may change your drug coverage to reflect your need. In summary, you pay a monthly premium to an insurance carrier for your Part D plan. In return, you use the insurance carrier’s network of pharmacies or online services to purchase your prescription medications. Instead of paying full price, you will pay a copay or percentage of the drug’s cost and the insurance company will pay the rest.
Lastly, with all issues related to medical concerns, be certain that you have properly drafted such items as healthcare directives, living wills, health proxies and medical power-of-attorney.
Find Carney-Cargill, Inc. at 600 Ericksen Ave. NE, Suite 320, Bainbridge Island. For more information, call 206-842-8987 or visit carneycargill.com.