Medicare Part D Plan

Medicare Part D Plan

Started in 2006, Medicare Part D, or prescription medication insurance, is the latest addition to the Medicare program. Anyone with Medicare Parts A and B is now also eligible for Medicare Part D.

Some things to keep in mind about Part D are noted on

  • Medicare prescription medication insurance is available only through Medicare approved private health insurers
  • You can buy an independent policy (MA-PD) or your medication insurance can be combined with a Medicare Advantage plan (part C).
  • Prices and insurance may vary from plan to plan, so it’s worth shopping around.
  • If you do not apply for prescription drug insurance (or have any other credible form of insurance) as soon as you are eligible, you will be charged a late enrollment penalty

When to register

Since Part D has a late enrollment penalty, as does Part B, it is important that you apply as soon as you are eligible. You are eligible when:

  • You turn 65 (you can register from 3 months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday and up to 3 months after your month of birth)
  • You are under 65 and disabled
  • Subscribe to Part B (regardless of Part A)

If you do not register at one of these times, you may be charged a late registration fee. In addition, you may be penalized every time a period of 63 days or more passes without a prescription drug policy or other credible insurance (from a former employer, for example).

The fine is calculated by multiplying 1% of the beneficiary’s basic national premium by the amount of full months eligible for insurance but not enrolled. You can find out more about the late registration penalty in Part D at

Two ways to get insurance

Although Medicare prescription drug insurance is available only through private health insurers, there are two ways to get your insurance:

  • An independent Medicare prescription drug plan
  • A best Medicare Advantage plan with prescription medication insurance

If you have the original Medicare and do not wish to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan, you must apply for a separate MA-PD to avoid a late enrollment penalty (unless you have credible insurance). While many Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug insurance as part of the plan, there are some that do not. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan that does not offer drug insurance, you will need to find a separate MA-PD.

Factors to consider when selecting a prescription medication policy

Although price is always paramount, it is not the only factor to put into consideration when buying a prescription drug plan. You should consider these other issues when making a decision: