The Baltimore County Department of Aging State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) will be offering one-on-one Part D research assistance during Fall 2015 for the Medicare Part D Open Enrollment from October 15 through December 7. Any changes in Part D coverage will become effective January 1, 2016. The schedule for Part D open enrollment events at Baltimore County senior centers will be posted by September. Call the SHIP office at 410-887-2059 to schedule an appointment at a senior center convenient to you. SHIP will also provide enrollment assistance at the BCDA Baby Boomer Senior Expo at Timonium Fairgrounds. The SHIP staff will assist Medicare beneficiaries and their families to select the most economical prescription plan that covers their drug needs.
Top Five Things Everyone Should Know About Part D
1. All Medicare Beneficiaries need to evaluate whether their current coverage is “creditable” meaning equal to or better than the Medicare Prescription Drug Program. If you delay enrolling in the Medicare Prescription Drug Program when you are first eligible, and your current prescription coverage is not “creditable”, you will pay a one percent higher premium per month for every month you did not join a plan.
2. When selecting a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan it is important to make an educated decision when selecting a plan, changing your plan, or evaluating whether to keep your current plan or change to a new plan in the following calendar year. You should research and compare the various drug plans with your medications' list to select the best coverage for you based on cost, coverage, or access. The best way to do this is go to www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan and use the comparison tool or to call the Baltimore County SHIP Office at 410-887-2059. The SHIP staff will perform the online research that is necessary for you to select the most economical Part D plan which covers your prescription drugs.
3. The Medicare Prescription Drug Program has a monthly premium that varies with each plan, associated with its coverage. Drug plans may also have deductibles and they do have co-payments toward the cost of prescriptions. When you join the Medicare Prescription Drug Program and use the plan’s network pharmacies, you will pay less.
4. Each drug plan has a different list of drugs it will cover called a “formulary list.” You will need to check which drug plan covers all or most of your medications at the best cost. Exceptions may be granted by your drug plan.
5. There is extra help, federal and state, for those who are low-income eligible: premiums can be reduced or eliminated, and other payments can be decreased. It is important to apply in a timely manner.
Part D Plan Review Schedule for 2015 will be posted by September 2015.
Revised January 8, 2015