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Prescription Drug Plans

IIllinois Part D Medicare Plans & Prescription Drug Coverage

According to the Illinois State Attorney General’s office:

If you currently have prescription drug coverage under a retiree plan, or a private plan, you may be better off staying with those plans instead of enrolling in Medicare Part D. If you receive a Notice of Creditable Coverage from your current plan, it means that your plan is at least as good as Medicare’s standard Part D plan, and may even be better. It also means that you will not be subject to a penalty for enrolling in a Part D plan later if your current plan or your personal circumstances change. Save the notice of creditable coverage in order to avoid a penalty later. Do not throw the creditable coverage letter away!

If you have creditable coverage, do not sign up for Medicare Part D unless you have received one-on-one, trustworthy counseling from SHIP, your Area Agency on Aging or another reliable source. Enrolling in Medicare Part D will almost certainly terminate your current prescription drug coverage, and you may risk losing your retiree or supplemental general health coverage as well.

You can read more about Part D coverage from the Illinois State Attorney General’s web site at http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/seniors/partd_2do.html.

The penalty for applying late for Medicare Part D coverage is a one percent increase in the premium cost for every month you delay enrollment. For example, if you do not enroll until two years after you turn 65, your premium will cost 24 percent more every month than it would have if you signed up on time.

Instead of enrolling in a Medicare prescription drug plan, you may be able to obtain drug coverage at lower cost through a Medicare Advantage Plan. The Medicare Advantage Plan would also provide your health benefits. It may offer lower overall costs, but will limit you to physicians and providers who participate in the plan.

If you must, or you decide you should, enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan, be very careful to choose the best plan for you. Take the following steps:

  1. Make a list of the medications and dosages you take.
  2. Do not necessarily enroll with the first or even second plan you learn about. Do not let marketers rush you into a decision. Instead, take your time and get reliable help.
  3. For each plan available in Illinois, check:
    • which drugs it offers – make sure the ones you take are included;
    • which pharmacies it uses – make sure your regular pharmacy is included;
    • what you will have to pay for premiums, deductibles, and prescription co-payments.
    • whether you will have to get prior approval for a drug or substitute generic drugs for brand names
    • what happens if your doctor prescribes a new drug for you that is not in the plan, or what if you take a drug in a different dose than the one the plan offers;
    • whether the plan is available in another state in which you regularly spend time, for example, Florida or Arizona.

    The list below contains the highest rated Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in the state of Illinois. It is for informational purposes only and some listings may be inaccurate or missing. The list was provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but due to the variance in plans based on county, city, and region, some options may not be available in your location.