Medicare questions answered

by Margie Johnson Ware, Aging and Health Specialist and Bonnie Burns, Medicare Specialist

How will I pay for my prescription medications on Medicare?

If you are not covered by employer insurance, and haven’t signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage, you will need to sign up for a Part D (prescription drug coverage) plan to cover your medications.

In some cases you may have been automatically assigned to a Part D plan if you get Extra Help or Medicare Savings Programs. A call to 1-800-MEDICARE will allow you to find out if you have been automatically enrolled.  If so, you will want to speak with the representative and make sure that all of your medications are covered in the plan they put you in.  If they are not covered, you can choose another plan.  You can also contact your local SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) for help with this process.

What if my disability responds to treatment and I am able to return to work?

First, speak to a representative at the Social Security Office about how many hours you are allowed to work and still retain your SSDI payments.  If you return to what the Social Security Office considers “substantial gainful activity” (i.e a paying job above a certain income level, depending on your disability), you are still eligible for Medicare for seven years.

If new employment provides health insurance, then the employer insurance will become the primary payer if there are more than 100 employees, and your Medicare will become secondary–but still available in case your circumstances change.

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