(Creditable prescription drug coverage means that the plan is expected to pay at least as much as Medicare, and therefore generally enables you to avoid having to pay any penalty premium if you keep this coverage, then later decide to get Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage [Part D]).
Employer or Union Insurance
If you have coverage from your employer, your spouse’s or another family member’s current or former employer or union, it is possible that you could also have Medicare drug coverage, but you must review the information about the plan shared with you by the plan administrator each year to understand if the coverage offered is considered to be Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage. It is critical that check this each and every year before making any changes to your coverage, because it is possible that you, your spouse, or your family could lose your employer coverage if you take Medicare Coverage.
COBRA is a law that enables you to continue to receive health insurance coverage from an employer or union health insurance plan after that employment or eligibility as a dependent of the covered person ends. There may be reasons why you should take Medicare Part B Coverage instead of or in addition to COBRA insurance. Specifically, COBRA coverage does not extend the time after the initial enrollment period when you can enroll without being penalized in the way that continued employment does. Because of this, you should enroll in Medicare when you are first eligible if you wish to avoid paying the penalty premium. If you take COBRA and it includes creditable prescription drug coverage, you’ll have a Special Enrollment Period to join a Medicare drug plan without paying a penalty when the COBRA coverage ends. You can find out more about your specific situation from your Sate Health Insurance Assistance Program.
Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)
Medigap plans used to include prescription drug coverage. Medicare Supplements can no longer be sold with prescription drug coverage, but if you have drug coverage under a current Medigap policy, you can keep it. If you join a Medicare drug plan, your Medigap insurance company must remove the prescription drug coverage under your Medigap policy and adjust your premiums. Call your Medicare Supplement insurance company for more information.
Regardless of any plan choices, you should keep any creditable prescription drug coverage information you get from your plan. You may need it if you decide to join a Medicare drug plan later (to show that you should not have to pay the penalty premium). You should keep this information – DO NOT send coverage letters / certificates to Medicare (they could lose it…).
Other Government Insurance
Other Government health insurance plans like those listed here are considered creditable prescription drug coverage. This usually means that it is to your advantage to keep your current coverage…
Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Program
This program provides health coverage for current and retired federal employees and covered family members. These plans usually have prescription drug coverage, so, if this is the case, you don’t need to join a Medicare Drug Plan. However, if you decide to join a Medicare drug plan, you can keep your FEHB plan, and your plan will let you know who pays first (FEHB or Medicare).
Veterans and people who have served in the US Military may be able to get prescription drug coverage through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). You may join a Medicare drug plan, but, if you do, you can’t use both types of coverage for the same prescription at the same time.
Tricare (military health benefits)
Most people with TRICARE who are entiteld to Part A must have Part B to keep TRICARE prescription drug benefits. If you have TRICARE, you don’t need to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. but, if you do join a plan, your Medicare drug plan pays first and TRICARE pays second. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, with prescription drug coverage, your Medicare Advantage Plan and TRICARE may coordinate their benefits if your Medicare Advantage PLan network pharmacy is also a TRICARE network pharmacy.
Indian Health Services
If you get prescription drugs through an Indian Health facility, you’ll continue to get prescription drugs at no cost to you and your coverage won’t be interrupted. However, if your Indian health facility participates in the Medicare prescription drug program, joining a Medicare drug plan may help your Indian health facility because the drug plan pays the Indian health facility for the cost of your prescriptions. Your local Indian health benefits coordinator can help you choose a plan that meets your needs.