Medicare Part D plans announced
October is the month for Iowans on Medicare to start their annual Part D check-up. During this month Medicare announces its prescription drug plans (Part D) for 2015.
“Iowa will have 29 stand alone drug plans in 2015, compared to 32 for 2014,” says Kris Gross from the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). “It is very important that Iowans do a Part D check-up and see if their current plans will still provide the best coverage for 2015.”
There have been several plan changes which will impact Iowans. Seven plans were dropped and four new plans were added. Thirteen plans show reduced premiums and thirteen plans increased theirs. The lowest premium will be $15.70. None of the plans cover brand name drugs in the coverage gap, but several cover generic drugs. There are five plans which are available at $0 for people who qualify for the full Part D extra help.
The Part D deductible for 2015 is $320. The coverage gap is reached when total drug costs (what you and the plan pay) equal $2,960. You get out of the coverage gap when your out-of-pocket drug costs equal $4,700.
Every Part D plan offering a plan in 2015 must have sent an Annual Notice of Change to plan members by September 30, 2014. This notice explains formulary (drugs covered), benefit and premium changes for 2015. It is very important to watch for this notice and read it carefully. You may be able to save a lot of money by changing plans for 2015.
Anyone whose plan will not be available in 2015 should have received a plan termination letter by October 2. Those who have drug coverage through an employer provided plan must receive a notice by October 15 telling if their coverage for 2015 is at least as good as Medicare’s. This is called a creditable coverage notice.
By October 15 you will be able to go to www.medicare.gov and do a comparison of the Medicare drug plans available for next year. This Internet tool can help you decide if you want to stay with your current plan or switch to a plan that better meets your needs for the next year. If you don’t use a computer consider asking family members to help you, go to your local public library or call SHIIP. SHIIP is a free, confidential service of the State of Iowa with counselors available across the state to help you compare Medicare drug plans. For the SHIIP site nearest you call 1-800-351-4664 (TTY 1-800-735-2942) or go to www.therightcalliowa.gov.
Should you choose to change plans you must enroll in the new plan between October 15 –December 7, 2014. During this same period you can enroll in a Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan if you missed the enrollment deadline earlier this year. SHIIP counselors can assist you with enrollment in a Part D plan also. If you’re happy with the plan you have and what it’s going to be offering next year you don’t need to do anything. Your enrollment will continue into next year.