Medicare Part D includes an annual open-enrollment period of October 15 through December 7, during which you can enroll or choose to change to another Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). Your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year.
Enrollment in Medicare Part D is voluntary, and you are not required to participate. However, you may have to pay a penalty if you decide to sign up after your eligible enrollment period ends. Currently, the late enrollment penalty is equal to one percent of the base premium for every month that you waited to join. This penalty amount changes every year and you will have to pay it as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Part D coverage will be offered by approved PDPs. The PDP benefits will be administered by private companies, some of which may be insurance companies.
According to Wisconsin SHIP, every beneficiary should keep these points in mind when shopping for Part D coverage:
- Participation in the Medicare Part D program is voluntary.
- You do not have to pay an enrollment fee or pay for assistance to enroll in Medicare Part D.
- You will have to pay for Medicare Part D coverage, which may include monthly premiums and annual deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
- You may be eligible for help to pay for your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage based on your income.
- You do not have to enroll in Medicare Part D in order to keep your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.
- You do not have to buy any additional insurance products to be eligible to enroll in Medicare Part D and should be wary of any individual who uses a Part D sales pitch to sell other insurance products.
Also: Medicare Part D PDPs have a coverage gap or “donut hole.” A coverage gap means that after you and your plan have spent a certain amount of money for covered drugs, you have to pay out-of-pocket all costs for your drugs while you are in the gap. Beginning in 2011, if you reach the “donut hole” gap you may get a 50 percent discount on brand name prescription drugs when you buy them. There will be additional savings in the “donut hole” gap each year through 2020 when the “donut hole” is closed completely.
Also, as we’ve noted: If you are a Wisconsin resident 65 years old or older, you may benefit from the Wisconsin SeniorCare program. It is a drug-only program. Any income can join and some higher income seniors enjoy this option as they will pay only $30 a year to avoid a Part D penalty. This is especially helpful if you are taking no medications or are only on one or two generic medications. You can join a Part D plan at any time of the year if you are already on SeniorCare.
The list below contains the highest rated Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in the state of Wisconsin. 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.