The open application ended on the 7th of December and if you do not qualify for a special registration period, you cannot sign up for the Part D until next October. I received calls this week from Medicare beneficiaries who are baffled, and violent. I was shouted upon, hung upon and insulted.
Honestly, I do not mind, but it made me want to write a blog to help people understand their options when they miss out on Part D Enrollment. Here are a few ideas on how you can pay the pain out of pocket for your prescriptions.
Locate the keywords “Prescription Coupons” on your search engine and hundreds of pages will pop-up and offer coupons on every drug you can imagine. You can also research for your specific drug by typing ‘drug name’ coupons’ into your search engine.
Another approach is to contact the company that sells your medicine and ask them if they have vouchers to send to you. Most companies have coupons or good offers on their websites. It may seem too easy, but sometimes it’s the simplest solutions that work.
Prescription Assistance Programs
A variety of programs like these exist, some of which are specific to states. These programs are not insurance policies, but they help with the cost of prescription drugs.
You must apply and be eligible to qualify for a utility program. As soon as you are in, you will usually receive a discount card that entitles you to receive discounts at pharmacies.
The one difficult thing about these programs is that you may not qualify for Part D after signing up for a utility. These programs are really for those in desperate need who cannot afford their prescription drugs or can afford part D deductibles or premiums. There are also senior-specific programs and programs that are only open to people under the age of 65. Therefore it is important that you get informed before applying.
RX assist is one program that I found after only ten minutes of research.
Large grocery stores like Walmart and HEB offer discount programs for pharmacies. By registering in these programs, you can get some (not all) of the prescription drugs at greatly reduced prices. There are small, initial fees that you will have to pay to sign up for these programs, but you will be able to get prescription drugs at extremely reduced prices ($ 5 for 30 days at HEB). Walmart has also listed a competitive program with some medications for $ 4.
As you can see, there are options. Of course, my first piece of advice is not to yell or hang up your agent before he can help you. You may not even understand your situation. There is a possibility that you can qualify for a special registration period. Qualifying circumstances are typically things like leaving a coverage area that involuntarily fall out of your Medicare Advantage plan or other circumstances beyond your control.
While I wish I could wave my magic wand and solve the situation, that’s what it is. Some analogies include: not completing your voter registration card in time for a poll, applying for a scholarship or grant after the due date, or late submitting a work project. There are reasons for deadlines, and there is no point in blaming yourself, your agent or the government. Mistakes happen, but luckily there are the above-mentioned resources for Medicare beneficiaries that they can rely on if they forget to enroll in Part D.