Are you searching for assistance with your prescription drug costs? Are you enrolled in Original Medicare Part A or Part B and currently living in the state of Montana? If so, then Medicare’s Part D prescription drug plans are worth researching. Montana offers 23 different Part D plans to its residents, courtesy of 13 different third-party healthcare providers, who operate under guidelines established by Medicare.
Once you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you’ll want to apply to the Part D plan of your choice, either in person at the provider’s facility or online via the company’s website. Don’t delay, as doing so could result in higher monthly premiums or late fees if you miss Medicare’s enrollment deadlines.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
You may also be considering a Medicare Advantage plan for your prescription drug needs, or you may be enrolled in one already since Advantage typically acts as a replacement plan for Original Medicare Parts A and B. While some Advantage plans do offer drug coverage, Part D’s coverage is usually more extensive. The costs also vary considerably, since Part D focuses exclusively on drugs while Advantage (sometimes called Part C) assists you with inpatient and outpatient care costs.
You’ll want to consider your Part D and your Advantage options carefully, and consult with your provider and/or doctors while doing so. Some Advantage plans are incompatible with Part D, which means that enrolling in the latter while already enrolled in the former could negatively affect your overall insurance coverage.
When to sign up
You have three opportunities to sign up for a Part D plan. The first opportunity, and the one that we recommend, is the Initial Enrollment Period. This is a seven month window that begins three months prior to your Original Medicare eligibility date and ends four months after said date. If you can’t make the initial period, you may enroll during the Annual Election Period that starts on October 15th. This period concludes on December 7th.
Your final chance to enroll in a Part D plan will be during one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods. These periods are typically offered for people who have lost their prior insurance coverage or who are suffering additional hardships, so you should instead plan to enroll during the first two periods. If you do not, you may be hit with late fees, higher premium costs, and even health audits that may affect your coverage eligibility.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all Montana 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.