If you are looking for 2014 Part D plans with the lowest cost there’s more to consider than just the premium
If you are new to Medicare you may be surprised at the number of Part D plans available as well as the huge disparity in monthly premiums.
If you are looking for Part D plans with the lowest cost don’t be fooled into thinking that the monthly premium is the only criteria to consider.
This article is a primer on what to consider when your goal is to keep as much of your money in your pocket and still enroll in a Medicare Part D plan that will give you adequate coverage.
Whether you are on a tight budget or merely looking for a inexpensive plan because you have little need for prescription drugs, this article will guide you to make a sensible choice.
What to consider when comparing Part D plans
1. The monthly premium – Although not the sole predictor of plan cost, the Part D premium is certainly a big consideration because it needs to be affordable. Under certain circumstance a low premium may be your best option. For instance, if you are not required to take medications why enroll in a plan with a premium several times higher than other alternatives?
The Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan had the lowest monthly premium at $12.60 for 2014 plans. This does not necessarily make it the lowest cost plan, as that will depend on your individual need for prescription drugs.
2. The Part D Deductible – 2014 plans can include a annual deductible of up to $310. Some plans do not require a deductible and other require a deductible somewhere in between $0 and $310.
Divide the deductible amount by 12 months and add that to your monthly premium if you will potentially be required to take at least as many drugs as the deductible will be. Adding that figure to the premium gets you a more honest monthly figure.
3. Part D Formulary – The Part D formulary can effect your costs in a way that is hard to discern. First, if a drug is not included in the formulary, you will pay for it yourself. Secondly, drugs are placed in different tiers by different plans. The same tier 2 drug may be a tier 3 drug with a competing plan.
4. Part D Copayment Amounts – Closely related to drug tiers are the amounts you will pay for each drug within a specific tier. Some plans will have much lower copay amounts than competing plans with some plans even offering $0 copay for tier 1 and mail order drugs.
Evaluating Part D costs
The amount of effort put into comparing plans is more about the number of drugs you are required to take than just choosing a low premium. Before you start comparing plans you should narrow your list down to ones that include all of your drugs.
There are many Part D Look Up Tools available on plan websites as well as at the Official Medicare website. If you use one of these tools you will still need to look at annual deductible, tier placement of drugs and copayment amounts to narrow down your list.
If you take your time and recognize all the moving parts associated with Part D costs you should be able to find the best Part D plan with the lowest costs.