If you are searching for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in the state of Iowa, you have 23 different plans to choose from as of 2016. These plans are provided by 13 different third-party health insurance firms under the guidance of the federal government’s Medicare program. To sign up for a Part D plan, you must first be enrolled in Original Medicare Part A or Part B. Once you’re enrolled, you can then apply to the Part D plan of your choice, usually through the provider company’s website or via a traditional paper application.
You should enroll in Part D as soon as possible, since delayed enrollment can result in late fees and increased monthly premium expenses if you fail to meet Medicare’s various enrollment deadlines.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
During your research into Medicare prescription drug coverage, you may have stumbled upon Medicare Advantage (also called Medicare Part C). Like Part D, it provides prescription drug coverage. Unlike Part D, it also provides the same coverage as Original Medicare Parts A and B as well as other plan-specific coverage. Part D typically provides more extensive formularies and overall drug coverage than Medicare Advantage, and those Advantage plans that do offer drug options will differ substantially in features and pricing from Medicare’s Part D plans.
If you are already enrolled in Medicare Advantage, you will also need to consider the effects of possible Part D enrollment on your existing health coverage. Some Medicare Advantage plans automatically cancel and revert back to Original Medicare Part A and Part B if the patient enrolls in a Part D plan. Be sure to check with your Advantage administrator as well as the company providing your potential Part D plan before you sign any documents or make any changes related to your health coverage. Failure to do so could negatively impact your coverage or expenses going forward.
When to sign up
When it comes to signing up for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, earlier is better. The Initial Enrollment Period is a seven-month window that falls around your Original Medicare eligibility date (which is based on your birth month and your 65th birthday). You can sign up for Part D as early as three months prior to your Original Medicare eligibility date and as late as four months after that date.
If you miss the Initial Enrollment Period, be sure to sign up during the Annual Election Period, which occurs between October 15th and December 7th each calendar year. If you miss that period as well, your last chance will be during a Special Election Period that happens at various times throughout the year. Medicare provides these periods to assist patients who have lost their previous insurance or who are undergoing other hardships that prevented a timely enrollment application. Be aware, though, that after the Initial Enrollment Period, you may be subject to higher monthly premium fees for your Part D plan as well as health audits that could affect your ability to get coverage.
What are my options?
The Medicare Part D plans listed above are provided in all Iowa counties. Your county of residence may offer additional plans and services. Contact your local Medicare office to learn more.
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.