Medicare beneficiaries who wish to add prescription drug benefits to their Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage can choose to enroll in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan in Colorado, as in any state. These stand-alone plans are available from private Medicare-approved insurance companies. Stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans are available to beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in Medicare Part A or Part B.
There’s another way to get your Medicare Part D coverage: you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, and get all your Medicare benefits through a single plan. Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans are offered by private insurance companies with Medicare’s approval, and each plan must include at least as much coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B (except for hospice care, which is still covered by Part A). No matter what kind of Medicare Advantage plan you enroll in, you must continue paying your Medicare Part B premium, as well as any premium your Part C plan may charge.
Beneficiaries with a Medicare Advantage plan that does not include prescription drug coverage may be able to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. However, you may want to check with the Medicare Advantage plan to make sure it doesn’t include this coverage. If you enroll in a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug Plan while enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, you could be dropped from the Medicare Advantage plan and returned to Original Medicare.
If you’re eligible for Medicare, you can sign up for a Medicare Part D coverage during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). For those who qualify for Medicare benefits by age, this period begins three months prior to the month that they turn 65. The period continues through the birthday month and for three months afterward, totaling seven months. If you qualify for Medicare due to disability, your IEP is also usually a seven-month period; see When to Apply for Medicare for details.
Your Initial Enrollment Period may be a good time to sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage (whether you decide to stay with Original Medicare and add a stand-alone Part D plan, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan). Although this coverage is optional, if you don’t sign up for prescription drug coverage during your IEP, you may face a late-enrollment penalty if you decide to sign up later on.
The Annual Election Period (AEP) is another period during which beneficiaries may add a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to their coverage. This period takes place from October 15 to December 7 of each year, and you can make several different types of changes to your coverage. For example, if you switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare during this time, you can add a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
Special Election Periods may let you add a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan when certain changes occur that affect your coverage. These might include a move out of your existing plan’s service area, a loss of current prescription drug coverage due to circumstances beyond your control, or other situations that may cause you to lose your prescription drug benefits.
Availability and costs of Medicare Prescription Drug Plans may vary depending on where in Colorado you live. With a number of options in the state, it is important to do your homework before choosing a plan that may suit your needs. Even if you are not currently in need of prescription drug coverage, you may want to consider a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Planin case those needs arise in the future.
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans in Colorado (as in any state) can vary in terms of the medications covered and the amount of coverage provided. The costs of the plans can also fluctuate, in terms of both monthly premiums and annual deductibles. By comparing coverage and costs, you may be able to find a Prescription Drug Plan in your service area for your specific situation.