Every year there are either small tweaks or big changes to different Medicare sections, so it’s important to stay-up-to date and do your research before choosing a plan. This year in particular there are a few important changes in Medicare Part D that could seriously affect you.
For those who choose to enroll in Part C, a.k.a The Advantage Plan, some type of a prescription drug plan (PDP) is typically included. For those who decide to enroll in Part A and B as opposed to the Advantage plan, a prescription-drug coverage is not included but you may voluntarily choose to purchase one. While you may already have a prescription plan that works, you should think twice before you decide to keep the same plan. In fact, not changing your plan could actually end up costing you more; only about 1 in 10 of Medicare part D recipients change their drugs plan which often leads to people overpaying for prescription plans by about $373 a person per year. That’s a lot of money, so it’s important to review your options.
So before you decide to continue with the same prescription-drug plan as you chose for 2017, or sign-up for one for the first time, be sure you know your facts and compare plans in order to figure out what PDP is best for you in terms of both your health needs and your financial situation.
What You Need to Know: 2018 Prescription Drug Plans
• There are more PDPs this year than last year. In 2017 there were 746 PDPs to choose from, which has increased to 782 PDPs for 2018. This includes an increase in the number of $0 deductible plans and the number of plans with premiums under $25. With a national 36 additional plans to choose from, you might just have better luck in finding a plan that’s best for you…at least statistically speaking.
• On the flip side, the average cost of PDPs are going up. The increase from 2017 to 2018 will be an average of about 9% for monthly premiums. Interestingly enough, the amounts for premiums will also have a wider range, with a national average starting at about $20 per month and up to as much as $84 per month.
• There is premium and cost-sharing assistance available for Part D that is available through the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program. In order to qualify one must be able to show proof of low income and modest assets. Those who qualify may be eligible for benchmark plans.
• Less plans are charging for flat copayments and instead, more plans are charging coinsurance for covered brand-name drugs. Depending on which plan you choose, this could cost end up costing you more out of pocket for your coverage.
• PDPs are voluntary so many people may decide not to pick a plan. However, if you choose to pick a plan after the enrollment period or change your plan, you will likely be charged with a penalty fee. If you go 63 consecutive days without a PDP plan before deciding to enroll in one, then you will most likely end up paying the penalty fee, which increases every year relative to the national beneficiary premium.
With coverage costs and plans changing every year, choosing the plan that’s best for you isn’t always as simple as one would hope. 1800health Care Advisors can help walk you through the process of shopping and comparing plans so that you can feel confident in your choices, completely free at 844-855-4325. You can also discover exactly what information/documents you need to begin enrollment with our free Medicare Basics Guide.