The Medicare Part D sign-up period for prescription drug insurance coverage during 2009 runs from November 15, 2008 through December 31, 2008. Medicare Part D allows people 65 and older with no other prescription drug insurance and for younger people receiving Social Security benefits, to obtain drug coverage through numerous private health insurance plans. Each of these plans varies in cost and in the number and type of prescription drugs which each plan covers (the “formulary” for each drug insurance plan).
During the sign-up period, an eligible individual can change prescription drug insurance plans from the one he or she has to a new plan. The reason for doing so would be to obtain better coverage for the individual’s particular prescription drugs. Not all plans cover all prescription drugs, and many plans are very limited in the types of drugs that they cover. Moreover, the costs of the different prescription drug insurance plans are highly variable.
If an individual does not opt to change Medicare Part D plans, he or she is automatically enrolled in their current prescription drug plan. However, the cost of the current plan in 2009 could be significantly greater than it was in 2008, and the current plan may not cover the same formulary of drugs in 2009 that it did in 2008.
It is extremely important that any eligible individual carefully review his or her current plan, the new costs and new prescription drug formulary for that plan, and the costs and drug formularies for other prescription drug insurance plans to make sure that he or she is receiving the optimal value for his or her premium dollars.