Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance policies do not provide prescription drug coverage. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you can still get drug coverage through a separate prescription drug plan through companies that offer drug plans such as Silverscript or Humana. Prescription drug plans are also known as Part D of Medicare.
Prescription Drug Coverage Under Legacy Medigap Plans H, I, and J
Up until 2010, Medicare supplement plans H, I, and J offered drug coverage as a part of their coverage. Those plans were eliminated in 2010 and replaced with plans K through N – none of which offer prescription drug coverage.
You can continue to receive your drug benefits from one of the discontinued plans if you still have it in force. But you cannot have a Plan H, I, or J and also have a Part D drug plan unless you have your insurance company to remove the prescription drug coverage from your Medigap plan. This could also change your monthly premiums.
Those legacy plans are not getting new, healthy enrollees coming into the plans, and that is a problem. You can expect the premiums on those three plans to continue to rise in the future. Insurance companies need new, healthy policyholders to help keep premiums low. That is not an option since those legacy plans are no longer available for sale.
There are better options available today if you are on an older plan. Check the rates for your area at the bottom of this page. You can also call our office at 1-888-228-6119 to speak with a licensed independent agent about your situation.
How To Get Prescription Drug Coverage
If you are enrolled in Medicare and have a Medigap plan other than H, I, or J, you have two options. First, you can enroll in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan. Your second option is to move to a Medicare Advantage plan. Although over 80% of Medicare Advantage plans have drug coverage included, most Seniors are not willing to give up the freedom and autonomy they have with a Medigap plan to go onto a Medicare Advantage plan with all of its restrictions. You cannot be enrolled in a Medicare supplement and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.
There are only certain situations under which you can enroll in a Part D plan, such as turning 65 or going onto Part B of Medicare for the first time. In both of those cases, you can enroll three months before or three months after the month that your Part B coverage begins. You can also enroll or change plans each year during the Annual Election Period (AEP). That period runs from October 15 through December 7. AEP restrictions apply to Part D or Medicare Advantage plans only. With your Medigap plan, you can make changes to your plan any time of year.
Enrolling in a Standalone Prescription Drug Plan
If you need a standalone Part D prescription drug plan, we recommend you call Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227). You can also visit them at http://medicare.gov. If you give them a list of your medications, they will give you the lowest priced plan based on what you are currently taking and where you live. They are totally unbiased and willing to help. One recommendation is to call them late at night or very early in the morning. They are available 24 hours a day.
The advice on this website is informational. Please contact us before making a purchasing decision to help determine what is best for your individual situation. You can contact us at 888-228-6119.
Keith Murray is an independent agent and the owner of Integrity Senior Solutions Inc. He has over 21 years of experience working with Seniors to meet their insurance and financial needs.