Medicare Part D May Be In Your Future If You Are Nearing Age 65

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Medicare Part D

As older adults get closer to age 65, they will need to make choices about their Medicare coverage and prescription plan options, because Medicare Part D may be in their future. Enrolling in Medicare will depend on an individual's circumstances. Part A is for hospitalization, Part B is for doctor's visits, and Part D is for prescription drug coverage. The Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services' (DAS) GeorgiaCares program is encouraging older adults nearing age 65 to consider their options for prescription drug coverage during the Medicare Part D open enrollment period, November 15 through December 31, 2007.

"Our GeorgiaCares program is encouraging older adults to start thinking about their Medicare prescription drug options if they are getting close to age 65," said Maria Greene, Director of DAS. "Open enrollment is a good time to look at their options for prescription coverage."

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A person will receive Medicare Part A automatically if he has worked and paid into the system through FICA. Some people will be automatically enrolled into Part B, including those who are entitled to Social Security disability benefits and those who elected to begin receiving Social Security retirement income at age 62. Beneficiaries in these two groups will receive notification from the Social Security Administration (SSA) about three months before turning 65.

Those adults who are about to turn 65 but are not yet receiving Social Security should contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to sign up for their retirement benefit. At that time, they will have a choice of signing up for Parts B and D. They can enroll in Part B through the SSA, and in Part D through a Medicare-approved plan that they choose based on their current medications.

They should enroll in B and D within three months after they turn 65 to avoid a penalty paid to Medicare. If the person chooses to continue working after age 65 and he is employed for a company that employs more than 20 people, he can delay enrolling in B and D. When he does decide to stop working, he can go back and pick up Parts B and D without a penalty.

Currently, there are 55 stand alone prescription drug plans in Georgia, and 22 companies that are offering Medicare Advantage Plans, which is Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage plans can be an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) or a Private-Fee-For-Service plan.

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