Prescription drug costs are rising each year, so it’s no surprise that many Americans over the age of 65 are turning to Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to offset some of their expenses. If you’re a New Hampshire resident looking for Part D coverage, you can choose from 25 different plans offered by 13 health care providers. You’ll need to be enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B in order to get started with your Part D application.
Once that’s done, contact your preferred Part D plan provider and apply online via their website or in person, if required. It’s in your best interest to apply as soon as possible, since delays may lead to increased monthly premium rates, late fees, and even health audits that could affect your coverage.
Medicare Part D vs. Medicare Advantage
Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer prescription drug coverage. Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, typically replaces Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, in addition to providing extra services including prescription drugs. Part D, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on prescription drug coverage. You’ll need to do a bit of research to determine which plan fits your individual needs and budget. Costs for these plans vary widely. It’s also worth noting that some Advantage plans do not mix with Part D plans. In some cases, enrolling in a Part D plan when you’re already covered by Advantage could negate your Advantage plan, which will then default you back to Original Medicare Part A and Part B.
Be sure to consult with your health care plan administrator before making any changes to your plan. Failure to do so could result in loss of coverage and benefits.
When to sign up
You’ll want to sign up for Part D coverage as soon as possible. Your first opportunity is during Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period, which begins three months before your Original Medicare eligibility date. The period concludes four months after this date, which gives you a total of seven months to apply and enroll in Part D.
If you miss the seven-month window, you can still sign up by taking advantage of the Annual Election Period. This cycle begins on October 15th and concludes on December 7th each calendar year.
Your final opportunity to enroll in Part D coverage may occur during one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods. This periods are offered primarily to assist patients with hardships (like the loss of prior insurance coverage), so you should avoid delaying until this period if at all possible. You may be subject to health audits, higher monthly premium costs, and late penalties if you fail to enroll prior a Special Election Period.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all New Hampshire 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.