Medicare Drug Plans can provide some help from the high cost of medications. All of the new information coming out can be hard to understand. It's likely that you will need some help in understanding Drug Plans. If you're just turning 65 or otherwise considering a Medicare prescription drug plan, please keep the following in mind.
When you enroll can affect your premium. In general, drug plan coverage becomes effective on the first day of the next month after you join. There is a penalty if you were eligible for Medicare, but did not join a plan by May 15, 2006, and you do not have a drug plan that covers as much or more than a Medicare drug plan. The penalty is at least 1 percent more (of the national average premium) for every month you wait.
Prescription drug plan eligibility requirements:
To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare drug plan, you have to meet some requirements.
If you are entitled to Part A and/or enrolled in Part B of Original Medicare, then you are eligible to join.
You do not have to enroll in Medicare Part D. Medicare Drug Plans are an option, not a requirement. That being said, you should still strongly consider joining a Part D drug plan so in the future you will have the drug coverage when you do need it.
Medicare prescription drug plan benefits vary greatly. Medicare Drug Plans are optional and are available from private insurance companies. So you will have to pay a monthly premium for the drug plan in addition to the Medicare Part B premium you already pay.
Extra Help may be available. Some people with limited income and resources may be eligible for Extra Help to assist in paying for Medicare Drug Plans. The costs that may be covered include; monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year and many people who would qualify for these savings don't know it.
To find out if you qualify call your local Social Security office. They will need to know the value of your savings, income, investments, and real estate (other than your home). To qualify for Extra Help total resources must be less than $13,070 for an individual and less than $26,120 for a married couple living together. Resources include the value of things you own such as; real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRA's and cash. Extra Help is an often overlooked benefit for many who have Medicare Drug Plans.
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