If you live in Oregon and you’re searching for relief from rising prescription drug costs, Medicare’s Part D prescription drug plan could be just what you need. There are 24 separate Part D plans available from 12 distinct healthcare providers, each of which offers Part D plans in conjunction with the federal government. To avail yourself of one of these plans, you’ll first need to enroll in Original Medicare Part A or Part B. Once that’s done, you can then apply to the Part D plan of your choice, usually in person via a traditional application, but sometimes online as well.
You should apply as soon as you’re eligible. Delaying may subject you to higher monthly premium costs, late fees and penalties, and possible health audits.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage (sometimes called Medicare Part C) also offers prescription drug coverage in some cases. Advantage is designed to replace Original Medicare Part A and Part B, but some plans provide extra coverage depending on the location and the provider. Part D, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on prescription drugs, and it usually offers more drug options and coverage than Advantage plans.
Aside from the varying cost and availability of Advantage plans versus Part D plans, it’s also worth noting that some Advantage plans are not compatible with Part D. This means that if you are enrolled in Advantage and you subsequently enroll in Part D, your Advantage coverage may be cancelled and you may revert back to Original Medicare Part A and Part B. Consult with your doctors and healthcare plan administrators before making any changes to your coverage.
When to sign up
You should sign up during Medicare Part D’s Initial Enrollment Period. It starts three months prior to your Original Medicare eligibility date and concludes four months after said date, which gives you seven months to research an appropriate Part D plan and submit an application. If you fail to enroll during the initial period, you can try again during the Annual Election Period. This period starts every October 15th and concludes on December 7th of each calendar year.
If you miss both of these periods, your only other option is to try and enroll during a Special Election Period. These periods are typically granted to those with hardships (such as the loss of prior insurance), so you should make sure to apply during the previous two periods instead. If you apply during a Special Election Period, you may be subject to late fees, penalties, health audits that could affect your ability to get coverage, and higher monthly premium fees. In some cases, these fees may continue to increase each month throughout the life of your insurance coverage.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all Oregon counties. Your county of residence may provide additional plans and services. Contact one of our representatives or your local Medicare office for additional details.
Plans are subject to change as contracts are finalized.
Includes contracts/plans as of April 22, 2016. The data does not reflect information for employer-sponsored plans, Part B-only plans, or plans not offering a Part D drug benefit.