What is Part D of Medicare?
Ever since January 1st 2006, Medicare Part D has been helping people manage the costs associated with prescription drugs. Original Medicare was somewhat inadequate in its scope to offer comprehensive assistance, and it still has its critics, but Part D Medicare plans helped to make the Medicare initiative far more popular today. Part D is available to citizens over 65 years of age and therefore most likely to spend large amounts of money on medication, provided they have bought into a PDP or Advantage plan as well as their medical/hospital cover.
Who Buys Part D of Medicare?
Anyone who qualifies for Medicare A and B can also purchase prescription drug cover as a PDP (prescription drug plan) or a Medicare Advantage plan. Two thirds of enrollees buy the PDP which has fewer options and therefore costs less, but is limited in services outside medication. With 29 million people enrolled in Part D of Medicare and 1,975 stand-alone policies currently on the market, the numbers speak for themselves as far as the popularity of these beneficial plans is concerned.
Pricing of Medicare Part D plans
Prices vary from state to state as far as plans are concerned. Medicare prices are set by law, and local agents will be more than happy to help you find the best Medicare supplemental policy in your locale. There are also many resources available online which will serve as a guide to determine rates. Enrollees must pay a set deductible of $310 and will usually have to pay a quarter of costs as co-insurance up to the amount of $2830.00.
Once a policyholder reaches the $2830.00 tidemark, they enter the Donut Hole or coverage gap, whereby they have to pay the full amount of medication fees until they have spent $4,550.00. These out of pocket expenses can be avoided by purchasing gap coverage when entering into a policy. Spending is counted between the beginning of January and the end of December annually.
Medication expenses are such that many people reach the coverage gap, often early on in the year. In 2011, 27% of Medicare Part D policyholders spent over the Donut Hole threshold, without qualifying for subsidization due to low income. A further 6% of these spent enough to receive coverage on the other side of the “Donut” which is known as catastrophic coverage.
If an individual is concerned that they will almost certainly hit the Donut Hole over the course of the year, they may wish to apply for gap coverage which will extend your policy to cover you above the $2,830.00 mark – for a higher premium. Savings of up to 75% can also be made by opting for generic drugs instead of branded names. As a ball-park figure, average premium spending was around $40.00 per month last year and rates rise by around $3 with each successive enrollment period.
Medicare D Low Income Subsidies
Those who are of a lower income have a low-income subsidy available to them, provided they fall below the 150% poverty line. This will cover a portion of, or all costs for premiums, deductibles and copayments. Over 10 million citizens qualify for this extra support.
Medicare Part D: a Most Welcome Addition
Part D of Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have been a real godsend to those who have found it difficult to manage prescription drug expenses in the past. Those in the later stages of life generally need this service more than younger generations, but have less disposable income available to them. Additionally, there are helpful services for those with less money and those who spend more on drugs than the average person. Talk to a licensed agent and you’ll realize that there really is a lot to gain from enrolling in these useful plans.
Medicare D Drug Plans to Suit Your Wallet