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September 16, 2012
Medicare Part D plans are prescription drug plans that you can sign up for to add Medicare drug coverage to Medicare Part A and B. Since Medicare Part D plans are provided by private insurance companies, you can sign up for plans with different coverage. You should review each plan's specific drug coverage and sign up for a Texas Medicare Part D plan that fits your needs.
There are several ways to sign up for a Medicare Part D plan. You may be able to sign up for Medicare Part D online, sign up by mailing in a paper application or call the insurer directly to sign up for Part D. PlanPrescriber.com has a Medicare Part D plan comparison tool designed to help you compare and sign up for Part D plans in your area. Regardless of how you choose to sign up, you will need your Medicare number and the date of your Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B sign up, all of which is located on your Medicare card.
You should sign up for a Medicare Part D plan or sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan to avoid penalties unless you already have creditable drug coverage. Insurance companies are required to send notification if your coverage is not as good as Medicare Part D coverage. If your coverage is not creditable, you have full two months after notification to sign up for a Medicare Part D plan without receiving penalties.
You can no longer sign up for drug coverage through a Medicare Supplement plan. If you already have a Medigap policy with drug coverage you can keep your drug benefits or sign up for a Medicare Part D plan and drop your Medigap drug benefits. Once Medigap drug coverage is dropped you will be unable to sign up for that program again. If you have a Medigap policy and no prescription benefits, you may also want to sign up for Medicare Part D. Individuals with Medicaid and Medicare are automatically enrolled in a Part D plan and can sign up for a different Part D plan at any time.
Anyone enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan may sign up for a new plan each year from October 15 to December 7th. Those who completed their Medicare Plan B sign up during the General Enrollment period may sign up for a Medicare Part D plan from April 1st to June 30th. There are also special circumstances that allow you to sign up for Medicare Part D at other times, which include, but are not limited to, moving, entering a nursing home, or loss of insurance through your employer. Participants are strongly urged to re-evaluate and possibly sign up for a new Medicare Part D plan on a yearly basis as plan options change each year. Evaluating Medicare Plan D benefits each year will ensure that you sign up for the best coverage available.
Occasionally people delay the sign up process for Part D plans. It's important to sign up for drug coverage through Medicare Part D or sign up for private drug insurance to avoid penalties. In many cases extra help with sign up is available for those who can't afford to sign up for Medicare Part D coverage.
Medicare has neither approved nor endorsed this information.