If you’re a Wyoming resident seeking assistance with your prescription drug costs, you should examine whether or not Medicare’s Part D prescription drug plan meets your needs. As of 2016, Wyoming residents may choose from 23 separate Part D plans administered by 13 different health care providers under the direction of Medicare itself. To qualify for one of these plans, you’ll need to be enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B. You’ll also need to submit an application to the Part D plan of your choice, usually through the provider’s website but occasionally in person via a traditional paper application form.
You should apply for an appropriate Part D plan as soon as possible. If you do not, you may be subject to health audits, higher monthly premiums, and even premiums that continually rise each year that you’re on Medicare.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage also provides prescription drug coverage in some cases, but it differs from Part D which focuses specifically on drugs. Advantage plans (also known as Medicare Part C) offer a broader range of coverage options since they are designed to replace Original Medicare Parts A and B. They vary widely in pricing, coverage, and availability in comparison to Part D plans, so it’s important to do your research when selecting either a Part D plan or an Advantage plan to meet your prescription drug needs.
It’s also worth noting that some Advantage plans are not compatible with Part D, meaning that when you enroll in Part D, your Advantage plan will be cancelled and you will be reverted back to Original Medicare Part A and Part B. You should speak with the administrator of any Advantage or Part D plan that you are considering and ensure that any changes you make will not invalidate your current insurance coverage.
When to sign up
After you’ve picked your Part D plan, you’ll need to sign up as soon as possible. The Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before your Original Medicare eligibility date and ends four months after said date. Your Original Medicare eligibility date is based on your 65th birthday and your birth month. If you miss the initial sign-up period, you can sign up during the Annual Election Period, which runs from October 15th to December 7th each year. If you miss this period as well, your last opportunity to sign up for Part D will occur during one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods. These periods are designed to assist those with extenuating circumstances or hardships (such as the loss of prior insurance coverage), so it is best if you do not wait until the last minute. Instead, take full advantage of the previously mentioned Initial Enrollment Period. Signing up early means that you will avoid possible monthly premium increases, late penalties, and health audits that may affect your ability to get insured.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all Wyoming 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.