D is for Drugs!
In 2006 Medicare began providing coverage for prescription drugs to Medicare Eligible beneficiaries with the implementation of Medicare Part D. Unlike parts A and B, which are directly funded and administered by the federal government (CMS), Medicare Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies. However, these plans are regulated and subsidized by CMS. CMS sets the base coverage limits that each plan must follow but allows the insurance carriers to set up their own plans within these limits. Although plans must meet CMS approval, these private insurance carriers may set their own premiums, copay structures and formularies. Because there are so many carriers and so many plans available from which to choose from, no one plan is suited for everyone.
There are two ways a Medicare beneficiary can get Part D coverage: by enrolling in an Individual Medicare Part D plan (PDP), or by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan with Part D coverage (MA-PD).
Given the confusing and complex nature of Part D coverage, we have put together a few key questions and answers to help guide you toward the plan that might suit your needs: