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 Bob Fassbach. editor, www.SeniorArk.com

You may also want to see Medicare Parts  A-B-C-D Made Simple


So what are the basics of Part "D" - -(Part D is the Medicare Prescription Drug program)? The bill signed by President Bush is 411 pages long, and takes a CIA decoding team to understand. Do we dare try to summarize it on one page?

Since 2006, Medicare Part D offers some help with prescription drugs. The coverage is voluntary, handled by private insurance companies, and the monthly premium varies depending on how much coverage you have. You can get the part D benefit in a policy that is considered a "stand alone" (covers only drugs), or in a Medicare Advantage plan which incorporates Medicare Parts A, B, and D in one policy (and is sometimes called Medicare Part C)..

Under Medicare Part D, private insurance companies (Prescription Drug Plans, called PDPs, or existing Medicare Choice plans, which will be renamed Medicare Advantage plans) will enter into contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide insurance for prescription drugs. The coverage and requirements, such as use of formulary drugs, under the plans will vary by region to reflect differences in provider costs and patient demo- graphics. In 2006, first year of the program, the premium averaged $35 a month ($420 a year). In my area there are 21 Prescription Drug Plans for 2015. Premiums range from $16.70 to $110.70. Most have no coverage in the gap, or "donut hole". Those that do cover the donut hole, offer only some or all generics, except for one that covers a few branded drugs. Premiums for these 21 plans seem to be averaging about $40 per month .  

For information on Part D, as well as other prescription drug  information and links, see, SeniorArk Main Medicare Page, Charts,  and the Donut Hole.

To assess what is best for you, talk with a senior representative in your state. There are folks employed to do this very thing. Or go to www.medicare.gov to search for Part D plans available in YOUR area..

See: Part D Chart for 2015

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