If you live in North Dakota and you’re concerned about the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, you may want to research the 23 Medicare Part D plans available in your state. These plans are provided by 13 different health insurance companies under guidelines given to them by the federal government’s Medicare program. If you’d like to enroll in a Part D plan, you’ll first need to be a member of Medicare with Original Part A or Part B coverage. Once you’ve done that, you may apply to the Part D plan of your choice, either via the provider company’s website or in person with a traditional paper application.
Be sure to apply as soon as you’re eligible, otherwise you may incur late fees and higher monthly premium costs. You could also be subject to health audits that may prevent you from securing insurance coverage.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans (also called Medicare Part C) sometimes offer prescription drug coverage as well. Advantage plans are designed to replace Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, as well as provide plan-specific extras like prescription drug coverage as a bonus. Advantage plans typically do not cover as wide of a range of prescription drugs as the Part D plans, which are specifically designed for prescription drug usage. Prices and availability vary widely between Advantage and Part D plans. Crucially, some Advantage plans are incompatible with Part D, meaning that if you enroll in a Part D plan while also enrolled in an Advantage plan, you may lose your Advantage benefits and be forcibly reverted back to Original Medicare Parts A and B.
Make sure that you consult with the administrators of your proposed Part D plan as well as those in charge of your current insurance before you commit to any plan changes.
When to sign up
Medicare offers three chances for you to sign up for a Part D prescription drug plan. The Initial Enrollment Period begins three months prior to your Original Medicare eligibility date, which is a function of your birth month and your 65th birthday. The Initial Enrollment Period ends four months after this date, which means that you have a seven-month window in which to enroll.
If you miss this window, you can still apply during the Annual Election Period that runs from October 15th to December 7th of each calendar year. If you miss that window as well, you’ll have to hope for one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods which are offered infrequently at various times throughout the year. These periods are typically reserved for people which hardships (such as the unexpected loss of previous insurance), so enrolling during one of these periods may subject you to health audits, late fees, and higher monthly premium costs for the duration of your insurance plan.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all North Dakota counties. Your county of residence may provide additional plans and services. Contact your local Medicare office for additional details.
Plans are subject to change as contracts are finalized.
Includes contracts/plans as of April 22, 2016. The data does not reflect information for employer-sponsored plans, Part B-only plans, or plans not offering a Part D drug benefit.