New Medicare Prescription Drug Program Added to
Starting January 1, 2006, new Medicare prescription drug coverage will be available to everyone with Medicare-the Federal government's health care program for seniors over 65, and for younger people with disabilities.

Beginning November 15, 2005, individuals can choose to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to complement their Original Medicare coverage. Alternatively, Medicare participants can join a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare Health Plan that covers doctor and hospital care, as well as prescriptions.

Like other insurance programs, participants joining a plan offering Medicare drug coverage should expect to pay a monthly premium and a share cost of their prescriptions. However, individuals with limited income and resources may qualify for help with drug plan and prescription costs. Participants should note that the amount of the monthly premium is not affected by their health status or the number of prescriptions needed, although some plans may offer additional coverage and certain drugs at a higher premium. All drug plans will provide a standard quality of coverage for which Medicare has set the bar.

Starting November 15, 2005, you can enroll in three ways:

  2. Call your health care plan directly.
  3. Call 1-800-MEDICARE and Medicare will help you enroll.

Individuals with other types of health or prescription coverage, such as, an employer or union, TRICARE, the Department of Veteran's Affairs, a special program, or a Medigap policy, should read all the materials from the insurer or plan provider. Before making any changes to existing coverage, Medicare recommends that all individuals consult their benefits administrator.

For more information, visit the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans Program.