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Prescription drug coverage is now available from Medicare through Part D plans offered by private insurance companies. SHIIP can help you sort through the choices to find a plan that best meets your needs, so you can make The Right Call.

Is there coverage for prescription drugs under Medicare?

In 2006 Medicare added a prescription drug benefit called Medicare Part D. Medicare contracts with private companies to offer prescription drug plans. You can enroll in a plan that offers only drug coverage or you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan which includes drug coverage, along with other health coverage.

There are many plans to choose from. Generally you must stay in the plan you choose for a calendar year (there are some exceptions). Every year from October 15-December 7 there is an annual election period when you can change plans, drop coverage or add coverage. The plans can change premiums, co-payments and formularies (list of drugs they cover) every year so reviewing plans during the election period is important. The best way to compare plans is to use the Medicare website. SHIIP counselors can also help you compare plans.

You may have “creditable drug coverage” through an employer, union or other plan. If it is creditable (as good as, or better than Medicare’s coverage) you do not need a Medicare Part D plan.

Do you need help with your Prescription Drug Costs?

Medicare also provides "extra help" with drug costs to individuals with limited incomes and resources. Click here to apply for "extra help" through the Social Security Administration. SHIIP counselors can also assist you with this application. Contact the SHIIP counselor near you.

For more information about Medicare’s Prescription Drug Benefit see the "Resources" listed on the left side of this page, or call SHIIP at 1-800-351-4664. You can also compare drug plans sold in your area using the Medicare website,

Last Updated: 08/01/2018 (JLR)

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