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What is Medicare Part D and why is it Important to Have

The Medicare prescription drug benefit is commonly referred to as Medicare Part D. This program is an extension of Medicare designed to provide affordable prescription drugs to senior citizens. If you are eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) or Part B (medical insurance), you are eligible to enroll in Part D. The high cost of prescription drugs is prohibitive for many individuals, especially seniors. This program allows those who would otherwise have no prescription drug coverage to afford the medications they need. 
How Does Medicare Part D Work?

Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drugs through an approved private insurance company. Though Part D is run through private companies, it is regulated by the federal government in order to provide adequate coverage for each individual. Each plan will vary somewhat from company to company, but all are required to meet the minimum requirements laid out by law. These plans fall into one of two categories. The first type is a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. This type of plan simply adds Part D coverage to your existing Medicare coverage. The second type is known as a Medicare Advantage Plan. These plans combine Part A, Part B and Part D into one single plan. Enrollment in Medicare Part D begins three months before you turn 65. If you do not choose to enroll at this point, an annual enrollment period runs from October 15th to December 7th. Special enrollment periods are sometimes offered as well.

Who Should Enroll in Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D can provide much needed financial relief for senior citizens. As you grow older, your medical expenses increase. Prescription drugs are often one of your biggest monthly expenses. Medicare Part D coverage is a great fit for many seniors, especially those with financial concerns. Before enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan, it is wise to take a few precautions. After enrolling in a plan, you may be unable to make changes for up to one year, so make sure your plan fits your needs. Check your plan's drug list to see if your drug is covered. Additionally, some drugs are covered under certain dosages and quantities only. If your drug isn't covered, work with your doctor and he or she may be able to change your prescription accordingly to find you a drug that fits into your plan. In addition to some drugs not being covered, some pharmacies do not participate in certain plans. Make sure your preferred pharmacy works with your plan or find a local one that does.

While it may not be appropriate for everyone, Medicare Part D is a great option for senior citizens facing the prospect of rising healthcare costs. If you do not currently have prescription drug coverage or you are considering your options to reduce your monthly expenses, a Part D plan may be an option. Make sure your current drugs are covered under the drug list or consult your doctor to adjust your treatment plan to find a drug that is. Plans will vary depending on each company, so be sure to shop around to find a premium and deductible that works for you.

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