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Understanding Medicare Part D Coverage and Saving on Prescription Medication Costs

Medicare Part D is the prescription drug benefit, and it is the part of the program that can be the most confusing to people who are on Medicare. Medicare is something that people often have a hard time with because they do not understand the ins and outs of the program.

In 2010, a new law took effect, it changed how much money Medicare beneficiary must pay for their own medications. This applies to gap coverage, or anytime there’s a lapse in health care coverage plans. For example, changing from one insurance company to Medicare would mean that the beneficiary must cover 100% of costs, to fill their medications. This is what’s referred to as a “doughnut hole.” But the most likely scenario is that because Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Most people must purchase supplemental coverage to fill in the “gaps.” The doughnut law applies anytime there’s a lapse in insurance coverage.

What Is Medicare Part D?

Understanding Medicare Part D coverage means that you know how much each drug costs, what your alternatives are, and which online pharmacies you can order from. You must know where you can save the most money, and you must look into all the generic versions of drugs that have been prescribed. Understanding Medicare Part D coverage means that you know your doctor likely has been convinced by a drug manufacturer to prescribe their expensive medications, and you must seek out something that is cheaper.

Coverage Options

The coverage option isn’t based on medical conditions, income or the number of prescriptions. Discounts are on a rolling tier, beginning at 25% and then going down with each successive year of Medicare coverage. Most importantly, you can sign up for Part D Coverage, during initial enrollment and open enrollment. The open enrollment period for new beneficiaries is from October 15th to December 7th. During this time, you can sign-up for Part D coverage, when you apply for regular Medicare. Cost savings benefits are different, based on the pharmacy that you select. When applying for initial coverage, there’s a 7-month window or within 3 months of your 65th birthday.

Saving On Prescription Medication Cost

Generics are the easiest way of saving on prescription medication cost, and you will find that you could ask for the generics when you get to the pharmacy. Many seniors do not realize that these alternatives exist, and they spend more money because they do not know the program. Understanding Medicare Part D coverage means that you know your rights as soon as you get to the pharmacy.

Order Your Prescriptions Online Image result for order prescriptions online illustration

You might choose to order your prescriptions online simply because those markets are cheaper. You could buy from a website that will fill your prescription and mail it to you, and you could have that prescription sent to you overnight if necessary. Understanding how to save for prescription medication cost means you are looking at websites as a way to save money. You owe it to yourself to look at the cheapest website possible knowing that they are all licensed, all sell the same medications, and all take Medicare Part D.

Know Your Monthly Limits 

There could be monthly limits on your benefits because most prescriptions are meant to be used over the course of 30 days. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you are refilling too early, and you should work with Medicare Part D if you believe that you should have a higher limit. They often allow exceptions, but you must request those exceptions.

Talk To Your Doctor 

Your doctor might have a partnership with an online pharmacy that they have sent their patients for years, and you should use the site that gives you that sort of service. They might offer you a discount because you are a patient of one of their partners, or you might get a coupon from another company that actually reduces your costs that much more.

Are All Medications Covered?

Understanding how to save for prescription medication cost means knowing if all your medications are covered. You need to know if the Medicare Part D schedule has your medications on the list, and you must purchase only if you are on that approved list. You might need something called a Medigap plan if you believe that there will be costs left over.

Medigap Coverage 

Medigap coverage is a supplemental insurance plan that you can purchase that will help pay for everything that Medicare does not pay for. You have only so many options when you are attempting to buy your medication, and you can avoid many of the pitfalls of Part D if you have an insurance plan that fills in the gaps. Make certain that the pharmacy you have chosen will take your Medigap plan, and you should choose the pharmacy that keeps costs low so that your two insurance plans together will be enough.

Contact Medicare Part D For Extra Information

You might have thought, “what is Medicare Part D?” You probably have wondered if you could contact them for more information. You must contact the service center for Medicare Part D when you have questions about your coverage. You could talk to someone about how your coverage works, and you might get recommendations for online pharmacies, Medigap coverage, and medications that will be cheap to buy.

Image result for medicare part d illustrationPrescription Drug Part D Coverage Options

With the prescription drug plan, Medicare helps you afford your medications, by assisting with a portion of the costs. However, not all insurance companies offer prescription drug coverage. When applying for Medicare Part D Coverage, there are two plans to choose from. One is the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans and then there’s a standalone option, Medicare Advantage, which is Part D.

In Order To Qualify

You must have Medicare Part A and Part B. The monthly plan for prescription drug coverage varies. According to your insurance company, the state you live in and if you qualify for the government subsidized benefit. The costs would then be $0 out-of-pocket for monthly fees. In general monthly plans, run from between, $5 to $20, with $11.40 being the average. There is a threshold prescription amount of $3,700, the costs of your medications must first exceed this amount. Then Part D coverage provides a discount of 60% for brand-name medications and 49% for generic. This applies to the first $1,740 in prescription costs. So, after the threshold is met, Medicare will cover the next $1,740 by providing “doughnut hole,” discounts. The per cost deductible also varies before Medicare Part D Coverage is active. The new law, which took effect this year, means that enrollees can’t exceed an annual $400 deductible.

Navigating Drug Coverage Plans

The $400 deductible does not apply to all insurance carriers. Because every carrier has different “first dollar coverage” plans. So to begin with, it’s wise to check the state coverage chart for Medicare Part D plans. Secondly, determine how much of a medication threshold that you can afford. Not all plans start at $3,700, some are as low as $1,850, with $2,400 being the average. Next pay attention to the doughnut gap amount that you must pay out-of-pocket before Part D kicks in. Remember this means that enrollees are responsible for paying 100% of the costs of their prescription drugs. For medications costs that exceed $4,950, Medicare Part D is what is referred to as, “Catastrophic Coverage.” It doesn’t cover catastrophes, this is for receiving all prescription medications at a deep discount.

Costs & Deductibles Under Medicare Part D

So, it works like this, first, you must pay out-of-pocket, until you reach the threshold amount. The Medicare Part D deductible varies, according to your gap insurance carrier. The gap insurance carrier is also called, a “co-insurance provider.” Under the stand-alone plan, the enrolled member pays 25% of the cost, minus the difference between the deductible and the $3,700 threshold. There’s no need to worry about doing the math in your head, there’s an online estimator to help determine just how much Medicare Part D Coverage will cost you. Medicare also provides additional information to help you understand deductibles and how the coverage gap/doughnut law effects you. Don’t become confused by gap coverage policies, let a Medicare representative explain the different qualifying guidelines. Ask questions during enrollment to make certain that you know the monthly costs and completely understand the drug coverage plans.

Consider Part D

There are many people who use Medicare Part D because it is the cheapest way for them to buy medications, but they must have a greater understanding of how it works. You could purchase a plan that will help you fill in the gaps, or you could order from an online pharmacy that saves you money. Each step in the process of asking for generics to consulting with your doctor helps you stay healthier without incurring extra costs.