One of the downsides of the Original Medicare coverage which included Part A and Part B is that it did not cover prescription drugs. Many Americans are needing to take more prescriptions as they get older, which can quickly get too expensive to afford. Medicare Part D was designed to expand healthcare to include prescription medication.
There are multiple tiers of coverage for the prescription drug program, but all plans are required to cover certain drugs including those used for HIV or cancer. The prescription costs for each of the tiers is different, with drugs costing less in higher tears.
Here is an example of the tier list used for Medicare Part D:
- Specialty tier – You will be covered for drugs that are very expensive with the highest copayments in this tier.
- Tier 3 – High-cost brand-name drugs are available in this tear with high copayments.
- Tier 2 – Average cost brand-name drugs are available in this tier with medium copayments.
- Tier 1 – Generic drugs are covered in this tier with the lowest copayments.
When you are covered by a Medicare drug plan you are required to use network pharmacies.
Certain Medicare plans have programs that will directly mail you a three-month supply of your medications. This plan can be a useful option for you if you have difficulties traveling or leaving your home. Like other health insurance plans, you must pay a monthly premium, an annual deductible, and copayments for your medical services.
Note: Medicare Part D caps deductibles at $505 but you can qualify for less.
After reviewing the different types of Medicare plans, you may find that the best coverage for you is a combination of the different plans that are available. If this is the case, then Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, maybe the best choice for you. In short, Medicare Part C is a combination of parts A, B, and D through health insurance companies instead of a government health insurance program.
Medicare Part C provides coverage for a wide range of medical services including inpatient, outpatient, and drug coverage through affordable plans offered by insurance companies. These plans can also include additional coverage for vision, hearing, dental and additional fitness programs.
Each Medicare Advantage program will have its own coverage, terms, and costs that are established by the insurance provider. The government will subsidize a fixed amount of money for this coverage that will be paid to the insurance provider directly. With this option, you can compare quotes from several affordable health insurance companies.
If you are unsatisfied with your coverage or simply want to change your plan, you have the chance every year during the Medicare enrollment periods. Original Medicare plans have enrollment periods from January 1st to March 31st while Medicare Advantage runs from October 15th to December 7th.