Missouri residents in need of assistance with their prescription drug costs have plenty of choices when it comes to Medicare’s Part D prescription drug plans. There are 25 different plans available in the state thanks to 13 separate health care providers. If you’re already enrolled in Original Medicare Part A or Part B, all you have to do is contact the provider of your choice and apply to the Part D plan that best fits your individual needs. The application may be online at the provider’s website, or you may have to complete a traditional application in person.
Applying right away is recommended. If you delay, you may incur late penalties, higher monthly premium fees, or possible health audits that may affect your ability to get covered.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
Medicare Part D isn’t the only government-regulated health care program that provides prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage (also called Medicare Part C) offers drug coverage in some cases as well. However, Part D plans usually have a more extensive formulary and more options. Medicare Advantage plans are administered by third party companies under the direction of Medicare just like Part D plans, but their costs vary considerably. Some Medicare Advantage plans are incompatible with Part D plans, which means that if you enroll in Part D while also enrolled in an Advantage plan, your Advantage plan may change or even be cancelled entirely. If this happens, you will revert back to Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.
Consult with your doctors or healthcare provider to be sure that your choice of a Part D plan will not affect your current insurance in a negative manner.
When to sign up
Medicare offers three separate enrollment periods for Part D plans. The Initial Enrollment Period should be your goal, since delaying past its seven month window could cost you in terms of penalty fees and higher premiums. The window starts three months before your Original Medicare eligibility date (computed by your birth month and your 65th birthday). The period ends fourth months after this date.
The second opportunity to enroll in Part D is called the Annual Election Period. It runs from October 15th through December 7th of each calendar year. Your final opportunity to enroll in Part D will happen during one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods. You shouldn’t wait until this last minute period, though, as it is designed to help people with special needs and it may result in the aforementioned penalties if you cannot demonstrate a credible reason for missing the first two periods.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all Missouri counties. Your county of residence may provide additional plans and services. Contact 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.