What Happens to My Medigap Policy if I Change to a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan?

Prescription Drug Coverage is now offered through Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, also known as Medicare Part D. These plans offer coverage specifically for prescription drugs. The coverage generally costs less than the older Medigap plans that used to offer prescription drug coverage (Plans H, I and J). If you have one of these older plans and you want to switch to a Part D policy, you are eligible for a part D policy. You will simply need to sign up for Part D and tell your Medigap policy that you want the prescription drug portion removed from your Medigap policy.

Can I Use My Medigap Policy with a Part D Prescription Drug Plan?

You are not forced to drop the prescription drug portion of your Medigap policy. However, if you add a Part D policy you can't use the Medigap policy to pay for the portions that are not covered by the Part D policy. In essence you will be paying double premiums for nothing.

Can I Continue to use my Medigap Plan to Pay for Prescription Drugs?

You can continue to use your Medigap Plan to pay for your drug costs but most of these plans were structured unfavorably for patients. They were found to provide poor drug coverage for the money and this is why they have been discontinued. Before switching, look and make sure that your drugs are listed in the Formulary (drugs covered list) of the Part D Plan. If your drugs aren't listed look for a Part D plan where they are.

When Can I Apply for a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan?

You may enroll in Part D every year during the Open Enrollment Period that occurs between October 15th and December 7th.

In summary, anyone who has an older Medigap Plan that includes prescription drug coverage may continue to use his or her plan. They may also keep their Medigap Plan and ask to have the drug portion removed. In its place they can sign up for a Medicare Part D plan to cover their prescriptions drug needs.

Auntie Lou says, "Make sure your drugs are covered in the Formulary before you sign up for a Part D plan!"