How do we get my mother onto Medicare part D?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Conniem asked...

My mom is 80 yrs old, a few yrs ago she had Humana and to our dismay she canceled it for financial reasons, now she is on aricept and has to pay over $100.00 dollars a month for it. How can you help, how can we get her on "D"

Expert Answers

The good news is that your mother can sign up for any Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that's offered where she lives. To find out what plans are available, and to begin learning about their "formulary" list of drugs (to make sure that your mother's drugs are all covered by the plan she signs up for) and their other features (including their monthly cost), as well as how to enroll in a particular plan, you can go to Medicare's official online Medicare Plan Finder interactive Web site tool.

Because your mother dropped her previous Medicare coverage, however, there are other rules you need to know about. First, because she voluntarily dropped her previous coverage, she won't be able to sign up for a Medicare Part D drug plan until the "open enrollment" period which is October 15 to December 7. If she enrolls in a plan then, her coverage would begin on the following January 1. To learn more about this enrollment period and whether she might qualify for a different special enrollment period that could get her signed up earlier, see Medicare's online booklet Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods.

There's also another wrinkle in your mother's situation. Because there's a period -- from the date she dropped her previous coverage until the date her new Medicare Part D coverage will start -- she may have to pay a penalty in the form of a 1% per month increase in her Part D plan premiums for each month she was not enrolled in a plan after dropping her earlier coverage. So for example, if she was without a plan for 30 months, she would pay a 30% higher premium for her new Part D plan than others with the same plan in her geographic area. Fortunately, the premiums for Part D plans average only about $25 or $30 per month, so even a 30% penalty would still make a Part D plan much cheaper than paying for her medicine out of pocket without Part D coverage.