If you live in the state of Utah and you’re looking for help with your prescription drug costs, you should research Medicare Part D. There are a total of 26 different Part D plans offered in the state, which are sold and serviced by 14 different health care providers. To sign up, you’ll usually need to visit the provider company’s office in person and fill out a traditional paper application. However, some companies may offer an alternative online application form.
Before you can apply for a Part D plan, you’ll need to be enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B. Be sure to apply as soon as you’re eligible. If you do not, you may subject yourself to higher monthly premiums, late fees, and possible health audits.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage (also called Medicare Part C) is another option for receiving prescription drug cost assistance. Like Part D, Advantage plans are administered by third-party health care providers under the supervision of the federal government’s Medicare program. Unlike Part D, which focuses exclusively on prescription drugs, Advantage plans are designed to offer a wide range of services that replace those from Original Medicare Part A and Part B, plus a few plan-specific extras.
You’ll need to research individual Advantage and Part D plans in your local area to determine the best fit for your needs. Be aware that some Advantage plans will automatically cancel if you attempt to simultaneously enroll in a Part D plan. If this happens, you will revert back to Original Medicare Part A and B. Be sure to consult with your doctors and healthcare plan administrators before making any adjustments to your current plan.
When to sign up
You should make every effort to sign up for Medicare Part D during the seven month Initial Enrollment Period. This period starts three months before your Original Medicare eligibility date and ends four months after said date. This date is found in your Original Medicare documentation and is determined by your birth month and 65th birthday.
If you miss the seven month window, you can still apply for Part D coverage during the Annual Election Period. It starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th every calendar year.
If you miss both of these periods, your final opportunity to enroll in Part D will be during one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods. These happen infrequently, and are intended to assist those with extenuating circumstances (such as the unexpected loss of prior insurance coverage). If you delay your enrollment to a Special Election Period, you may be subject to late fees, higher monthly premium costs that constantly increase over the life of your coverage, and possible health audits that may prevent you from obtaining Part D coverage.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all Utah 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.