The New Medicare Prescription Drug Program
In 2003, the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act was signed into law. The new Medicare Prescription Drug Program affects everyone who is covered by Medicare, regardless of income. This program was implemented on January 1, 2006. The 2009 enrollment period will begin November 15, 2008 and end December 31, 2008. You may choose from a number of plans run by private companies. Each plan has its own formulary, or list of covered drugs.
How to Apply
You may apply by filling out an application, applying online at www.medicare.gov, or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). The plans are listed in the Medicare 2009 Handbook, a publication that was mailed to the homes of all Medicare beneficiaries. You can also compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans online at http://www.medicare.gov/MPDPF/Home.asp.
Medicare 2009 Changes
Premiums & Deductibles
Although premiums and deductibles may vary, in general:
- You will pay a monthly premium.
- You may pay a $295 deductible at the beginning of this year. Some plans have a smaller deductible or no deductible.
- You will pay about 25 percent of your prescription costs from $295 to $2,700.
- Once you reach $2,700 in costs, you may pay 100 percent of costs until you reach $6,153. Certain plans provide some drug benefits during this period.
- After you reach $6,153 in drug costs, you will pay only 5 percent of further drug costs.
If you are single with income below $15,600 and resources below $12,510, or married with income below $21,000 and resources below $25,010, you may qualify for extra help with premiums and other drug plan costs.
- Part A and Part B changes - View an article from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) on the changes to Medicare Part A and Part B benefits for 2009.
For further information about the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, see links below.
Medicare Prescription Drug Program
- About MyMedicare.gov - MyMedicare.gov offers personal claim information online.
- Basic Facts - Learn the details about the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
- Prescription Coverage Options (PDF) - View a chart that lists possible scenarios and how they may affect an individual's drug plan selection.
- Drug Plan Research Tool - Link to Medicare's website, www.medicare.gov, where you can submit your Medicare number and your list of prescriptions to research the best drug plan coverage for your needs.
- Stand Alone Drug Plans for 2009 (PDF) - View a list of the 52 drug plans offered in Maryland and see which ones are available nationwide for traveling residents.
- Extra Help through Social Security - Link to Social Security's website, www.ssa.gov, which details requirements to qualify for financial assistance with the drug plans.
- Maryland Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program - Link to Maryland's website, www.mspdap.gov, that details requirements to qualify for assistance with Part D premiums.
- Fraud Tips - State offers Medicare fraud protection valuable tips.
- Medicare Advantage - Making the right choice in Medicare advantage plans.
- Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending for Standard Plan - Drug plan expenditures for the 2009 standard plan.
- Glossary of Terms - View a list of terms associated with the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
- Further Resource - Link to helpful information on Medicare drug coverage from www.medicarerights.org, the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare (©2005 Medicare Rights Center.)