If you live in Oklahoma and you’re looking for help with your prescription drug costs, you may be researching Medicare Part D. Twelve different Oklahoma health care providers offer a total of 24 different Medicare Part D plans in conjunction with the federal government. To qualify for one of these plans, the first thing you have to do is make sure that you’re enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B. Then you may apply to the Part D plan of your choice, either in person at the provider office or online if the company offers a web-based application.
Be sure to apply as soon as possible so that you avoid possible late fees, health audits that may affect your ability to secure insurance, and higher monthly premium costs.
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 sign ups happen at various times throughout the year. You should take advantage of the first opportunity, which is called the Initial Enrollment Period. It starts three months before your Original Medicare eligibility date and concludes four months after this date. That gives you a seven month window in which to research and apply to the Part D plan of your choice.
If you miss the initial period, you can still sign up during the Annual Election Period that begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th of each calendar year. If you miss this period, your last chance will happen during one of Medicare’s Special Election Periods. You should avoiding waiting this long, since these periods are designed as a courtesy to individuals with hardships (like the loss of prior insurance). Delaying your enrollment to a Special Election Period may result in the penalties including late fees, health audits that may restrict your coverage choices, and higher monthly premium costs. These costs may even increase each month over the life of your insurance coverage.
What are my choices?
The Medicare Part D services listed in the preceding table are provided in all Oklahoma 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.