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Medicare Part D Enrollment


Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans are essential to your Medicare coverage. Many seniors require prescription drugs to regulate a healthy lifestyle.

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Thus, having a plan to help cover the costs of those drugs can lower your out-of-pocket responsibility. Medicare Part D enrollment is one of many vital steps seniors should take when enrolling in healthcare coverage.

Below, we review when and how you can enroll in Medicare Part D.

How to Enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan

To enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, you must have at least one part of Original Medicare and be within a Medicare Part D enrollment period.

No two Medicare Part D plans are the same. Plans vary based on ZIP Code, coverage, price, and plan formulary. So, it is in your best interest to enroll in a plan that best suits your needs.

To enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, you can:

  • Sign up online through Medicare.gov
  • Enroll over the phone with a licensed agent
  • Register directly with the carrier you choose

However, many seniors prefer to enroll through a licensed agent. This is because an agent can provide firsthand knowledge and experience from previous clients. Plus, many agents are brokers who have access to more than one carrier and can provide you with an accurate comparison of all your options.

How to Compare Medicare Part D Plans

Before completing your Medicare Part D enrollment, you should compare several drug plans in your area. Comparing plans is essential because if you enroll in a plan solely based on the name of a carrier with which you are familiar, you could be stuck with coverage that does not adequately assist in paying for your drugs. On the other hand, it may require higher copayments than other drug plans.

For example, a SilverScript plan may be the lowest cost for you if you only take one generic medication. However, if you do not compare plans, you may enroll through another carrier and pay higher monthly premiums and copayments.

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Each Medicare Part D plan has a different formulary, so it is essential to compare several options side-by-side to ensure you choose the right plan for you. Comparing plans is simple with the Medicare Part D Plan Finder tool, available on Medicare.gov. This tool helps you compare plans in your ZIP Code to help determine which is best for you. 

How Much Does Medicare Part D Enrollment Cost?

The cost of enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan differs based on your chosen plan. Each plan has a different monthly premium and varying copayments for the drugs it covers. However, all Medicare Part D plans include the same coverage phases.

There are four drug phases you should know about when enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan. They include:

  1. The deductible phase (only when applicable – not on all plans)
  2. The initial coverage phase
  3. The coverage gap phase (Donut hole)*
  4. The catastrophic phase*

*Due to the recent passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, the catastrophic coverage phase will be eliminated from Medicare Part D plans in 2024. The donut hole will go away in 2025.

Medicare Part D plan costs are different for everyone. Ultimately, your medications determine your total out-of-pocket expenses. Other factors include how often you take these drugs, your pharmacy, and your plan’s formulary.

Medicare Part D Enrollment Mistakes to Avoid

The greatest Medicare Part D enrollment mistake you should avoid is the Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty. This penalty permanently adds cost to your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan premium for as long as you have Part D coverage.

The Medicare Part D penalty occurs when you have Original Medicare with no creditable drug coverage. The penalty adds 1% of the average Medicare Part D premium cost for each month you go without creditable coverage.

For example, if you go 24 months without coverage, your penalty will be an additional 24% of the average drug plan cost added to your chosen monthly premium. To avoid the late enrollment penalty, you should complete your Medicare Part D enrollment as soon as you are eligible for coverage. This way, you are sure to skip the Part D penalty.

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How to Navigate Medicare Part D Enrollment

Medicare Part D enrollment can be a breeze if you follow the proper steps and enroll in the right plan for your needs. Our licensed Medicare agents at MedicareFAQ help to educate our clients on plans in their area and help determine how those plans cover their drugs.

Call us at the number above for a free plan comparison or complete our online rate form today!

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Sources:

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Drug coverage (Part D), Medicare. Accessed October 2022.
    https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d
  2. How to get Prescription Drug Coverage, Medicare. Accessed October 2022.
    https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/how-to-get-prescription-drug-coverage

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

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