The state of Kansas offers 23 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in conjunction with the federal government and 12 third-party health insurance providers. To qualify for one of these plans, you must first sign up for Original Medicare Part A and Part B. Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you may then apply to the Part D prescription drug plan of your choice. You should check the providing company’s website for an online application. If they don’t offer one, you’ll need to visit the company in person and submit a traditional paper application.
You should apply for your Part D coverage as soon as possible after you become a Medicare member. Delaying your application can cause you to pay higher monthly premium fees, late fees, and could even lead to health audits that may affect your ability to secure coverage.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
In addition to Part D, you may be considering Medicare Advantage for your prescription drug needs. Like Part D, Advantage (sometimes called Part C) is provided by third-party companies under the supervision of Medicare. Unlike Part D, Advantage plans cover a wide range of insurance options since they are designed to replace Original Medicare Part A and Part B. Part D concerns itself exclusively with prescription drugs.
It’s worth noting that some Advantage plans are incompatible with Part D, so if you’re thinking of using both to offset your costs, make sure you check with your plan administrator before you make any changes. Some Advantage plans will cancel your coverage if you enroll in Part D, which would automatically revert you back to Original Medicare Part A and Part B.
When to sign up
Part D’s Initial Enrollment Period starts three months prior to your Original Medicare eligibility date. This date is based on your birth month and your 65th birthday. The Initial Enrollment Period ends four months after this date. That gives you a total of seven months to research plans and apply to the one that best fits your needs.
If you miss the initial period, you can sign up during the Annual Election Period, which runs between October 15th and December 7th of every calendar year. If you miss this period as well, you’ll have to hope for enrollment during one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods. You should not delay this long, as these periods are typically offered for those with hardships like the loss of prior insurance. If you delay until a Special Election Period, you may face late fees, health audits that may affect your ability to get coverage, and higher monthly premium fees that constantly increase over the life of your coverage.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all Kansas 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.