medicare drug plans for Part D are provided by private insurance companies. These plans are not provided by the government. A private insurance company must be approved by the government before it can provide a Medicare drug plan. Medicare plan D is available to all Medicare recipients. You can check out more on www.medicarepartd.com .

If you are already enrolled in either Medicare Part A, or Part B or both, you are eligible for Medicare Part D. It is advisable to enroll into a Medicare Drug plan as soon as possible. If you wait to enroll, you will end up paying higher premiums.

You do not necessarily have to enroll in a Medicare D plan. You may also receive prescription coverage if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). If you have prescription coverage in a Part C plan, you cannot enroll in a Part D plan.

Defining Medicare Part D

All plans are required to provide a standard level of coverage mandated by Medicare. However, the actual costs and coverage vary by Medicare drug plan. The costs associated with a Part D plan are the monthly fee, the yearly deductible, co-insurance or co-pay and the coverage gap.

Part D coverage monthly fees vary with each plan and are in addition to the Part B premium. If you have your prescription coverage with a Medicare Part C plan, your cost of coverage is probably included in the Part C premium.

The yearly deductible is the total amount you that you have to pay for your prescriptions before your plan will ever pay.

Co-payment or co-insurance is the amount you pay upfront to the pharmacy when you buy your prescription.

The coverage gap is when your prescription purchases have exceeded a certain amount. At this point, you have to pay for all of your medication out of pocket until a yearly out of pocket limit has been reached. At this point, the plan begins paying again.

In summary, Medicare Part D is an add on to coverage to Medicare Part A and Part B for prescription drug coverage. It comes at a cost. The monthly premium, deductibles, co-pay or co-insurance and the coverage gap are all things that you need to consider when buying a part D plan.

The fundamentals of Medicare Part D plans

When the Medicare part D plans took effect in January 2006, it was with the best of intentions. Over two years later, the main question would be, has the Medicare Part D made substantial changes to the lives of seniors?

If we go by current statistics, it can be said that Medicare Part D has made some improvements in the lives of seniors, but there have been no revolutionary changes thus far. And since the program began, the number of Medicare beneficiaries who do not have drug coverage decreased, from 38% to 10%.

However, even with Medicare Part D coverage, there are still seniors who are skipping on medicines because of their high costs. In 2006, after the Medicare Part D program was set up, 11.5% of Medicare beneficiaries still skipped medicines because of the high cost. But this was a minimal decrease from 2005, when 14.1% of Medicare beneficiaries skipped on medicines. In 2006, 7.6% of Medicare beneficiaries scrimped on their basic needs so they could buy medicines.

This is a slight decrease in 2005, when 11.1% of seniors also scrimped on basic necessities to pay for medicine. The sickest Medicare recipients skipped pills but did not forego their basic needs. Their numbers were the same prior to and after the enactment of Medicare Part D.

Studies also show that many Medicare beneficiaries do not understand the Medicare Part D program.

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