Rounding out the different Parts of Medicare is Part D, for prescription drug coverage. If you missed our short and easy explanations of Parts A, B and C, be sure to check them out.
As part of the Medicare Modernization Act, prescription drugs were included as a Medicare covered benefit. You do have to select the coverage you want and pay for it. Stand-alone Part D products are available across the country. You can generally get your prescriptions filled at a wide variety of locations, including the national chains or through mail order.
You can select this coverage when you first get Medicare or during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The AEP is moving up this year from November 15st through December 31st to October 15th through December 7th.
If you don't enroll when you are initially eligible and lack any other comparable coverage (like group health insurance if you are still working) you may be subject to late enrollment penalties.
If you select a Medicare Advantage plan that has Part D (so an MA-PDP plan) you don't need a "stand-alone" Part D plan. You already have one included in you Medicare Advantage plan. MA-PDP covers Part D and usually carries a $0 premium.
If you choose to go the Medigap route you will need to select a Part D-only plan as well to have prescription coverage.
More Prescription drug coverage gap
The coverage gap begins after you and your drug plan has spent $2,970. In 2013, once you enter the coverage gap, you pay 47.5% of the plan’s cost for covered brand-name drugs and 79% of the plan’s cost for covered generic drugs until you reach the end of the coverage gap. Not everyone will enter the coverage gap.
Medicare Advantage Plan
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