The Annual Enrollment Period for Part D Plans with a 2014 effective date begins October 15, 2013 and ends December 7, 2013 at midnight.
This article will give you some tips to help you compare 2014 Medicare drug plans. Getting it right the first time is vitally important as there are very limited opportunities to change plans after the enrollment period has ended.
Medicare drug plans – what are the costs?
When most people begin to compare Part D drug plans they first focus in on the monthly premiums of plans available. Although the premium is important it is not the best place to start.
When comparing Medicare drug plans start with the plan formulary. The formulary is the list of drugs covered by the plan and also includes information about the tier that each covered drug has been listed in.
Starting with the formulary makes sense because if your drugs are not covered you are doing your research in vain. You would not go to the grocery store and compare the price of bananas if you don’t like or are allergic to bananas. So don’t compare drug plans that may not meet your needs either.
Once you find a plan or plans that include your prescriptions consider these costs:
- The monthly premium
- Copays or coinsurance for each tier
- Whether or not a deductible must be met
- Compare which tiers different companies list specific drugs
- Consider if coverage is included while you are in the donut hole
- Compare the costs of mail order if you intend to use that feature
Keep in mind that 2014 Part D plans that include an expanded formulary will have a much higher monthly premium than those that offer a standard formulary. But if you require the medications in an expanded formulary that is the way you should go.
Also recognize that for Medicare Part D drug plans you will receive a discount if you reach the coverage gap. The gap is reached after you and the plan have spent $2850 on prescription drugs.
Once in the coverage gap all plans will at least discount brand name drugs 52% and generic drugs 28%. This is part the the health care reform legislation package. After total costs by both you and the plan have reached $4550 you will enter the catastrophic phase of your Part D Plan.
When you look at the big picture you can compare 2014 Medicare drug plans with confidence and know that you are getting the best plan for your money.