Alaska’s 2014 Medicare Part D plan choices in plain text
Based on the 2014 Medicare Part D plan information released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS),
Alaska seniors and Medicare beneficiaries will find that 2014 will bring a number of changes to prescription drug
coverage and they should be prepared to examine their current 2013 plans closely to see what changes
are on the horizon for 2014.
Please note that the information we provide below is based only on stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (or PDPs).
As many people know, a number of the Medicare Advantage plans also include comprehensive prescription drug coverage,
along with Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Medicare B (physician) benefits (also called MA-PD plans).
However, because MA-PDs include many additional features (including Part A & B coverage) as compared to a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan,
we do not try to compare the stand-alone drug plans directly with MA-PDs.
What is new for 2014 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans?
First, the number of prescription drug plans available in Alaska has
increased. However, Twelve (12) companies will offer
2014 Medicare Part D plans in all states across the country. In addition, a wide assortment of regional and local Medicare Part D plans are offered within
or CMS region,
with the average number of prescription drug plans offered per state
increasing from 31 plans in 2013 to 34 plans in 2014.
Locally, Alaska residents will find that the total number of stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans has
increased from 23 in 2013 to 28 in 2014.
As a note, if you find that your current 2013 Part D plan is not being offered in 2014, you may wish to review
your Part D plan’s Annual Notice of Change (or ANOC) letter to see if you will be automatically moved to
another 2014 prescription drug plan or whether you will need to actively choose a new Medicare Part D plan for 2014.
72% of Alaska seniors can expect to see their monthly prescription drug plan premiums increase in 2014.
Across the country, the national average monthly Medicare Part D premium will increase from $53.26 in 2013 to $53.8 in 2014. Based on the 2013 enrollment figures, 63% of Medicare Part D beneficiaries nationwide (over 11 million people) could experience an average increase in premium of $6.22, unless they switch to a lower priced plan.
At home, Alaska residents will also notice
an increase in their Medicare Part D premiums. 72% of Alaska seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan, (or around 20,506 people) will see an average increase in monthly premiums of $7.27 in 2014 -- if they do not switch to a lower cost prescription drug plan.
Overall, monthly 2014 prescription drug plan premiums in Alaska will
increase 0.54% from a 2013 average monthly cost of $51.23 to a 2014 average Part D plan premium of $51.77.
The average monthly premiums discussed above treat all Medicare Part D plans equally.
Perhaps a more telling average is the weighted average - that is, looking at each plan’s monthly premium
based on number of people enrolled in that plan. Based on the weighted average, Alaska residents
can expect to see
a 9% increase
in their monthly premiums. This means that if everyone stays in their current 2013 prescription drug plan through 2014,
then across the state we can expect beneficiaries to pay 9% more for their monthly premium.
The range of monthly drug plan premiums will decrease.
Across the country, 2014 Medicare Part D plan premiums range from
a low of $12.50 (Humana Walmart Rx Plan (PDP) in AK) to a high of $174.70 (BlueMedicare Rx-Option 2 (PDP) in FL)
. Comparatively, the premiums within Alaska will range from
$12.50 (Humana Walmart Rx Plan (PDP) in AK) to $136.50 (Aetna Medicare Rx Premier (PDP) in AK) - as compared to the 2013 Alaska monthly premium range of
$15.00 to $108.50. Of those 2014 plans, 3 plan(s) will have a premium under $25
(in 2013, 2 Part D plan(s) were offered in Alaska with a premium under $25).
Fewer Medicare prescription drug plans will offer some level of coverage gap protection.
The selection of prescription drug plan coverage options has also changed with fewer companies offering 2014 Part D plans
with donut hole coverage. In 2013, 7 plan(s) offered plans with some form of donut hole coverage and
in 2014 that number will decrease to 6. People are reminded to see which drugs are
actually covered in the donut hole because some Part D plans only cover a "few" drugs through the coverage gap.
More Medicare prescription drug plans will offer plans with enhanced options.
Alaska residents will find that more Part D plans will offer enhanced
prescription drug coverage options with 12 enhanced Part D plans in 2014 as compared to 9 in 2013.
Enhanced Medicare Part D coverage includes prescription drug plans that have a lower or no initial deductible and a
variation of cost-sharing (for instance, copayments instead of co-insurance).
For example, in 2014, more Alaska Part D plans will offer prescription drug coverage
with a $0 initial deductible (12 in 2014 as compared to 8 in 2013).
Low-Income Subsidy Recipients in Alaska will have more Part D plans that qualify for the $0 monthly premium.
Alaska Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for full "Extra Help" will find that more Part D plans qualify for the $0 premium Low-Income Subsidy as compared to last year.
In 2013, 7 Medicare Part D plans qualified for the $0 premium Low-Income Subsidy as compared to 11 Part D plans in 2014.
Please note, if you received "Extra Help" in 2013 and your plan does not qualify for the $0 premium in 2014, you may
be automatically moved to a new Part D plan that does qualify for the $0 premium. If this occurs, please check
to be sure that your prescriptions are covered on your new plan.
If they are not, you can switch to a plan that will cover your medications.
So what is the Bottom Line? Review your 2014 Medicare prescription drug plan options.
Alaska seniors and Medicare beneficiaries will see more prescription drug plan choices in 2014
and higher premiums.
In addition, behind the numbers, some of 2013’s more popular Medicare Part D plans will change their 2014 plan
structure. Some plans are adding initial deductibles or changing cost-sharing limits
(for instance, how much you pay for a covered drug).
Also, all plans changed their initial coverage limit -- defining when you enter the coverage gap.
Accordingly, people are reminded to consider their 2014 prescription drug plan options carefully.
If you are a Medicare beneficiary and make no decision to change your existing prescription drug coverage,
you will be automatically reenrolled in your existing prescription drug plan - along with any changes
that have been made in coverage or cost for 2014. If your prescription drug plan is discontinued, and you are not automatically moved into a new plan,
then you will need to enroll in another Part D plan or not have prescription drug coverage in 2014.
The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information.
However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist.
For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
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Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year.
Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area.
However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service
area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048),
24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare.
Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits
money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible.
The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll
during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the
Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.