Have you enrolled in Medicare Part D yet?

The deadline for Medicare Part D enrollment is approaching fast so if you haven’t already, it’s time to review your current Medicare plan to make sure it still offers the same benefits and prescription drugs to meet your needs. Whether you want to change your current provider or you’re a new enrollee, you have until December 31 to enroll. Waiting until the last minute can cause you to face delays. This is a once a year opportunity that allows participants to choose among a variety of private insurance plans that can be custom tailored to their particular drug needs.

If you need help deciding what plan is best to fit your needs, there are many resources at your disposal to help during the open-enrollment period. In order to make an informed decision, you must know the basics first.

Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans include Medicare Part A (hospital), Medicare Part B (doctor’s office visits), and Part D (prescription drug coverage). Medicare Part D plans only include prescription drug coverage and are usually purchased by people who already have Original Medicare (Part A and B).

Since the lists of covered drugs are changing as well as restrictions and costs, Medicare beneficiaries are being advised to review their current plans to make sure it will still benefit them in 2009. Because the enrollment period will soon come to a close, beneficiaries should review their plan and then begin viewing other plans and pricing. You should consider costs, doctors/providers, and travel when choosing a plan. Costs, such as premium, copayments, coinsurance, and deductible expenses, are changing. You also need to make sure that you’re able to visit the providers you want on your current plan and check to see if there will be additional costs if the provider is out of network or referrals are needed. You may also be travelling in the near future. Are you drugs covered if you travel to another state? You should make sure that your plan provides coverage in other states.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), average monthly premiums for standard Part D coverage will be $28 in 2009, as opposed to the $25 in 2008.

What do you need to do when considering Medicare Part D plan?

1)Assess your needs. What prescription drugs are crucial to your life style?

2)Consult your doctor and pharmacist. Make sure they are still in your network under the plans you are considering.

3)Review all plans and prices to see which is best fit for you.

The Open Enrollment period for Medicare Part D ends on December 31st which gives you two more weeks to make some very important decisions. Plans begin on January 1, 2009 and late charges and penalties may apply if you wait too long.

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