Are you a Tennessee resident? Are you looking for assistance with the cost of your prescription drugs? Medicare Part D is probably worth your while, and Tennessee features 24 different Part D plans administered by 13 different health care providers. To qualify for one of these plans, you’ll need to be enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B. Following that, you’ll need to apply to the Part D plan of your choice. This can be done either in person at the provider company’s office or sometimes via an online application at the company’s website.
You should sign up as soon as you’re eligible. If you do not, you may subject yourself to late penalties, higher monthly costs, and possible health audits.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
In addition to Part D, Medicare Advantage (sometimes called Medicare Part C) offers some prescription drug coverage. Advantage plans are similar to Part D plans in that they are administered by third-party companies under the supervision of Medicare. They differ in terms of costs, availability, and services offered. Advantage exists as a replacement for all of the services under Original Medicare Part A and Part B, whereas Part D is exclusively focused on prescription drugs.
Additionally, some Advantage plans do not work with Part D. If you enroll in a Part D plan while also being enrolled in an Advantage plan, the Advantage plan may drop your coverage and force you to revert back to Original Medicare Part A and B. Consult with your healthcare plan administrator before making any changes to your plan.
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, which 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 Tennessee counties. Your county of residence may provide additional plans and services. Contact one of our representatives or 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.