Prescription drug plans for Medicare Part D are also known as PDPs. There are standalone plans that can be bought by private insurance agencies. Prescription drug plans offer coverage for prescription medications and drugs, and certain vaccines may also be provided.
No prescription drug coverage is offered by Original Medicare (Medicare Part A & Medicare Part B). You'll want to sign up for a Medicare Part D pharmacy prescription plan if you have Original Medicare and need prescription drug coverage.
In terms of costs and particular medications covered, plans can differ by location and provider. Every plan may have a list of particular drugs it covers, known as a form, but some common types of drugs are required by law to be covered by all PDPs.
To cover the Shingles vaccine, Medicare Part D plans are required, but they may also cover other vaccinations for flu and pneumonia, such as Tdap. Which vaccinations outside of Shingles are covered will depend on your schedule. You will learn more from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) about Medicare and vaccination coverage and by communicating directly with the provider of the package.
You'll have to enroll directly with the plan provider to get a Prescription Drug Plan. When you're first qualified for Medicare, it's best to enroll in Medicare Part D unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to working past 65. This will be during the time of initial enrollment.
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If when first qualified, you do not enroll in Medicare Part D and do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you could face financial penalties.
You can merge parts of Medicare coverage with a plan for Medicare Part D. Original Medicare (Parts A & B) and some kinds of Medicare Advantage plans, such as Medicare Medical Savings Account plans without prescription coverage or Private Fee-for-Service plans, will operate with a stand-alone PDP.
For some types of Medicare Advantage plans, you can have a stand-alone prescription drug plan so long as the plan:
Can't offer prescription drug coverage
Chooses not to provide coverage for prescription medications
If you plan to change your Prescription Drug Plan after the first time you enroll, during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which starts October 15 and ends December 7, you can do so every year.
In order to ensure that you can access all the drugs you need to live the healthiest life, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is vital.
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