Comprehensive prescription drug coverage is essential for seniors. Your well-being depends on accessing the right prescription drugs when your doctor recommends it – you shouldn’t have to delay or forego treatment based on your budget. The following six facts will help you become informed and educated on what to expect when it comes to finding prescription drug coverage as a senior:
- You Pay a Separate Medicare Part D Premium
Prescription drug coverage is not included in Medicare Part A or Part B. You have to sign up for a separate Medicare Part D plan. You will pay a monthly premium and you can elect to have it deducted from your Social Security benefits, but you will have to contact the plan provider to set up this automatic deduction. Most people only pay their plan premium, but depending on your annual income, you may have to pay an additional charge.
- You’re Also Responsible for an Annual Deductible
You are responsible for an annual deductible for your prescription drug plan. You will pay the full amount of the deductible, then the plan will begin paying its portion of the costs. While every prescription drug plan has different deductibles (and some have no deductible at all), your costs will be capped at $400 per year for 2017.
- Medicare Advantage Programs May Include Drug Coverage
With original Medicare, you are required to enroll in Part D separately. When you sign up for a Medicare Advantage program, prescription drug coverage may be included in the plan. Make sure you assess the medications you currently take before signing up to ensure the drugs you need are included.
- Find Out About Coinsurance and Co-payments Beforehand
Depending on which drug plan you choose, you will be responsible for a percentage of drug costs after you’ve paid your deductible. Some plans will label these costs “coinsurance,” and that means you will have to pay a percentage of the drug’s price. Some plans will label these costs “co-payments” and you will have to pay a flat rate for the drugs you order depending on their “tier” rating.
- You Can Save Money by Switching to Generic Brands
Talk to your doctor about the generic options for name brand drugs you may be taking. One of the fastest ways to save money on drug coverage is to opt for generic brands due to their lower costs and increased chance that the plan you choose will cover it.
- You May Be Eligible for Extra Help
You can apply for Extra Help, a program offered by Medicare for seniors with limited income and assets. If you qualify, you will only pay $3.30 for generic brand drugs and $8.25 for name brand drugs in 2017. You may also only have to pay a portion of your premium and deductible.
When you’re trying to find the right prescription drug coverage, it helps to have a knowledgeable partner on your side. My Senior Health Plan can help walk you through the pros and cons of each option and give you guidance during the enrollment process – call today for more information.