Q: Who can purchase Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)?
A: Anyone who has Medicare can get Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage during specified enrollment periods. Joining a Medicare prescription drug plan is voluntary. The cost of Part D coverage varies with the plan purchased. Unlike Medicare Part A (Hospital) or Part B (Medical), Part D coverage is purchased through private insurers. You need to shop for the plan that best suits your personal needs. Husbands and wives can have different plans.
You can compare Part D drug plans at the official Medicare website, www.medicare.gov using the “Compare Drug and Health Plans” link from the homepage. You enter your prescription drugs as part of the comparison.
In North Dakota, the ND State Health Insurance Counseling Program (SHIC) can help people consider different plans. In Minnesota, the MN Board of Aging Senior Linkage Line can do so. Social Security employees cannot help you choose a plan or answer questions about what Medicare covers.
Some people with limited income and resources may be eligible for Extra Help to help pay for part of Part D plan monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. To qualify for Extra Help, you must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Your financial resources must be limited to $13,070 for an individual or $26,120 for a married couple living together. Resources include bank accounts, stocks, and bonds but not the house you live in or your car. Annual income must be limited to $16,755 for an individual or $22,695 for a married couple living together. Some income is not included. Even if your annual income is higher, you still may be able to get some help.
The Social Security Administration does not run Medicare but it does administer the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) Extra Help program. Learn more or apply for Extra Help at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp. You can also call the Social Security toll-free national number, 800-772-1213(TTY 1-800-325-0778), or your local office. You can apply for Extra Help any time.
For information about Medicare coverage, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).